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14 Mar 2020 | 03:48 AM UTC

Colombia: Government to close border with Venezuela amid COVID-19 spread March 14 /update 2

President Ivan Duque announces closure of Colombia-Venezuela border in efforts to curb COVID-19 on March 14; follow authority directives



President Ivan Duque announced on Friday, March 13, that the government will close its border with Venezuela as of Saturday, March 14, at 05:00 (local time) in efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). Further, foreign nationals who have visited European and/or Asian countries in the last two weeks will not be allowed to enter the country as of Monday, March 16. Colombian nationals and residents who have, however, will be required to self-isolate for two weeks.

Previously, visitors from France, Spain, Italy and China were to self-isolate for two weeks after their arrival.

As of Saturday, March 14, there are 13 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Colombia. In Venezuela there are two confirmed cases. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


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 nonessential 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 risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by 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 virus.