Authorities reopened the Friendship Bridge border post linking Ciudad del Este with Foz do Iguazu, Brazil on Thursday, October 15 for the first time since March when it was closed amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic. Foreign nationals can only enter the country by car, motorcycle, or van from 05:00 to 14:00 (local time) with a return allowed until midnight when the bridge closes. Many individuals cross the border into Paraguay for work and travelers who do so are only allowed to travel up to a maximum of 30km (19mi) into the country with a stay of no more than 24-hours.
Other international borders remain closed, all commercial passenger flights are suspended until further notice except for repatriation and cargo flights.
As of October 16, there have been 52,596 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Paraguay with 1150 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone non-essential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the general risk of transmission, individuals are advised to abide the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.