On Monday, April 6, Bolivian authorities announced that all international flights will be suspended until Saturday, April 18, due to the global coronavirus (COID-19) pandemic. This decision comes amid the current closure of Bolivia's land borders. According to interim President Jeanine Áñez, the borders will remain closed until at least Wednesday, April 15.
Bolivia's government declared a national health emergency on Wednesday, March 25. Movement restrictions are in place to prevent further spread of the virus, including only allowing one person per household to leave their homes to buy food between 07:00 and 12:00 (local time) on weekdays. All movement is prohibited on Saturdays and Sunday, and no private vehicles may circulate. Non-essential businesses have also been ordered to close.
As of Monday, April 6, there are more than 150 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country and nine associated fatalities. 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 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, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.