BUENOS AIRES – As many as 1.5 million Argentines over the next few days will travel to Paraguay for the upcoming visit of Pope Francis, officials said Wednesday.
“More than a million Argentines will cross to Asuncion for the arrival of His Holiness,” said the Argentine Highway Directorate in a communique with recommendations for those travelers who are heading to Paraguay by road.
The agency is suggesting to them that they begin their journey to Asuncion two days prior to their planned arrival date “because an elevated inflow of visitors is expected.”
The Argentine pontiff is due to arrive in Paraguay on Friday.
The road connection with Paraguay is via Highway 11, which leads to the international crossing point linking the Argentine city of Clorinda and the Paraguayan town of Puerto Falcon.
At that site there will be 14 mobile border crossing posts outfitted “for comprehensive and differentiated immigration control by officials from both countries,” the highway agency said.
To facilitate the movement of pilgrims by land, starting on Thursday cargo truck traffic will be restricted on Argentina’s Highway 11 and Highway 81.
Meanwhile, the Argentine Health Ministry said Wednesday in a communique that it will set up 10 health centers in the provinces bordering Paraguay: Formosa, Misiones, Chaco and Corrientes.
In addition, Argentina and Paraguay signed an agreement establishing a simplified procedure for coordinating transfers by ambulance and other means in the case of health emergencies.
The ministry is recommending to the religious faithful who are traveling to Paraguay to have their vaccinations up to date and to only consume water and food that they know to be safe, among other things.