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15 Mar 2020 | 02:03 PM UTC

Colombia: Government to bar entry of all non-residents March 16 /update 3

President Duque orders entry ban on all non-residents as of March 16 due to COVID-19 spread; follow government directives

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Event

On Sunday, March 15, President Ivan Duque announced that all foreign nationals will be indefinitely barred from entering Colombia as of Monday, March 16, to limit the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The directive does not apply to Colombian nationals or foreign residents. However, Colombian citizens and foreign residents who arrive from March 16 onward will be required to self-quarantine for a period of 14 days.

Other restrictions remain in place as of Sunday. Public gatherings of more than 500 people have been prohibited, while cruise ships have been banned from docking at any of the country's ports.

As of Sunday afternoon (local time), there have been 34 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the country.

Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.

Context

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.

Advice

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.