More than 1,000 Honduran migrants were trekking towards Guatemala on Thursday in the hope of crossing into Mexico and from there to the United States.
This is despite a U.S. warning that their chances of reaching their destination were worse than ever.
The migrants took off, mostly on foot, from San Pedro Sula in northern Honduras late on Wednesday, according to media reports.
They trekked with rucksacks on their backs, some pushing baby carriages and some wearing face masks.
A part of the group was reported to have reached Corinto on the Guatemalan border.
The caravan of migrants fleeing poverty and violence was the first one since Guatemala reopened its borders two weeks ago, after a closure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.
“My goal is to find a good job,’’ one of the migrants, a man travelling with his wife and daughter, told the news programme Hoy Mismo.
“This is a tough road, but every sacrifice has a reward.’’
However, Guatemala now requires a negative coronavirus test result – in addition to valid documents – for entry into its territory.
Mexico meanwhile denied rumours that it was letting some migrants in.
“Today more than ever, it is more difficult to cross the U.S. border illegally.
“The voyage has become even more dangerous, given the current global COVID-19 pandemic,’’ the U.S. embassy in Honduras said on Twitter.
U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration earlier signed agreements with Mexico, Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador to stem migration flows.
Mexico then deployed thousands of soldiers in border areas and along migration routes as well as new rules forcing migrants to wait in Mexico until the U.S. had handled their asylum requests.
The processing of the requests has stalled due to the pandemic.
However, the U.S. arrested nearly 50,000 incoming migrants in August, the highest number in almost a year after a steep drop in March and April.