Miami: a business, holiday and vaccination destination for Paraguay

A photo of a luggage bearing the Paraguayan flag at Silvio Pettirossi International Airport on Saturday, April 17, 2021, in Luke (Paraguay). EFE / Natalia Aguilar

Asuncion, April 18th (EFE). – Less than eight hours by direct plane from Asuncion, Miami is offered as a work and holiday destination for Paraguayans, but also as an exclusive alternative to getting a vaccine against the Coronavirus who do not know how long it will take to reach your country.
The vaccination rate in Paraguay is progressing slowly, with only 77,752 people vaccinated since February 22, according to the Ministry of Health, only 1.65% of the 4.7 million people targeted for immunization in a country of about 7 million people.
Meanwhile, southern Florida, where Miami is located, has removed age limits for vaccination, even though its vaccination plan is only for citizens and legal residents.
During the month of March, Paraguay’s General Directorate of Immigration recorded the exit of 1,577 Paraguayans heading to the United States and 937 others between April 1 and 11, according to data provided to Efe.
Authorities acknowledge an increase in the numbers, but they are cautious when it comes to linking these numbers to potential health tourism in Miami and mention that many are going for work, vacation, visiting relatives or even staying in the state. From Florida. .
In search of a vaccine
On a Saturday night, the only flight leaving Silvio Pettirossi International Airport, outside Asunción, was bound for Miami.
With the building completely empty, Eastern Airlines’ five counters kept checking bags while entire families, young men with expensive bags and the elderly waited on the queue.
Most of them preferred to avoid the press after the local media started talking about vaccination tourism among the country’s wealthy class in recent days.
However, no one has denied that vaccination could be a potential travel option for any of the passengers.
Mauro Areola, one of the young people Evie spoke with at the airport, commented that he would be spending a week on vacation in Florida and welcomed the vaccination in the United States.
He said: “I think it is fine, because there is a shortage of vaccines, and if you have the opportunity to go vaccination, I do not see any problem.”
Other passengers left the option of vaccination in Miami for their own personal decision, such as Angela Rogas, who was traveling on a family visit to celebrate her granddaughter’s birthday.
He told Efe, “It’s a everyone’s business, on a personal level,” and he didn’t see any inconvenience in getting vaccinated if he had the opportunity.
Among the passengers on this flight to Miami, there were also Florida residents, such as Rodrigo Poitrago, a Colombian American, his wife, a Paraguayan national, and an elderly couple who were returning home.
Poetrago was also not surprised that due to the difficulties getting the vaccine in Paraguay, some are looking for other options abroad.
“Everyone does what suits him, and if he has the capabilities, let him do it, right?”
The only person to openly admit to his trip was Christian Storm, a 47-year-old man who traveled to Miami with “expectation” to get vaccinated, given the undated likelihood of waiting for the turn of people of his age. Paraguay.
Regarding immunization requirements in Miami, he explained: “It takes a lease, property there, and I think a bank account. It’s trying your luck, and I understand there is some flexibility in applying the vaccine.”
Without the guaranteed vaccine, his entire journey was “in our view,” but he didn’t mind “making an effort for three weeks” to wait for the second dose if he could get to the first.
Three weekly frequencies
For Eastern Airlines, the company that operates the direct flight Asunción-Miami, “this influx of passengers is not surprising,” airport manager Jorge Fragnaud explained to Efe.
The airline this year regained the route that American Airlines stopped in 2015, and it was released with two frequencies weekly, Tuesdays and Saturdays, and a third will be added to it on Thursday, starting April 29.
Fragno stressed that this third hesitation has been in the company’s initial plans since it requested permission to operate in Paraguay and has not responded to the increase in passengers in recent weeks.
“This has always been a very profitable route (…). Here there are many commuters who have their business in the US or have relatives, many of them from Paraguay who travel back home in the US Miami is the gateway to the Americas,” Efe said.
In addition to these reasons, traveling to get vaccinated is also not excluded.
“I don’t ask the passengers why they are going. Sure there will be some who go for it, but I have no idea. Some are clearly going, and they will benefit, but that’s not something I can say if they go out.” EFE
Paraguay has recorded since March 2020, when the first case was discovered, 248,364 injuries, 5251 deaths, and 203982 recoveries.
Noelia F.

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Aileen Morales

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