News reports and rumors of the PCR test requirement coming back, just one month after Colombia removed the entry rule, have now been officially refuted by the Ministry of Health.
Fernando Ruiz Gómez, Colombia’s Minister of Health, has confirmed that travelers can still enter Colombia without bringing a negative PCR test with them, despite the new ruling a Bogota judge made to try and reinstate the PCR test requirement.
The Health Ministry issued a press release stating the “impossibility of complying with the ruling of a Bogotá judge” in regard to requiring all travelers not only bring a negative PCR test, but also quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Ruiz Gomez stated
“It puts us in a very complex situation because it somehow superimposes individual rights over collective rights, which is what prevails in a condition like the one we are experiencing in a pandemic. That would lead us to quarantine more than 120,000 in December, of which 80,000 would have a negative test. As long as the Ministry of Health does not change the norm and impose the PCR test, people will be able to continue traveling,”
The Ministry of Health suggests the ruling by the judge cannot be complied with, as it directly contradicts previous rulings regarding the government’s policies and strategies for effectively managing the pandemic and refuses to accept the epidemiological recommendations publicized by the Pan American Health Organization.
Ruiz Gomez says that to control international travelers is futile, as long as transmission is still possible with domestic travel and community spread.
MinSalud’s press statement reads “It is estimated that only 0.03% of the cases registered in Colombia correspond to the traveling population from abroad, so Ruiz Gómez explained that if the country were in a containment phase, with a lower reproduction rate and number of infections to other countries with which there is constant connection, it would be feasible to close the borders or require diagnostic tests.”
In a tweet by the Health Ministry earlier today, a quote from Gomez was shared where he also debunked the effectiveness of travelers bringing negative tests with them, as they could very well contract the virus while in transit, making the negative results ineffective.
"Las personas que ingresan a Colombia a través de vuelos internacionales pueden tomarse la prueba antes de hacer el viaje y, posteriormente, mientras esperan el resultado, contagiarse con COVID-19, por lo que podría no ser una medida efectiva" ministro @Fruizgomez https://t.co/JlCJrWw4Hx— MinSaludCol (@MinSaludCol) December 4, 2020
Translation: “People who enter Colombia through international flights can take the test before the trip and later, while waiting for the result, become infected with Covid-19, so it would not be an effective measure”
As of November 4, 2020, the government of Colombia removed the PCR testing requirement for entry into the country.
Previous to the November 4 removal, all arrivals (both foreigners and nationals returning home) were required to show proof of a negative PCR test, taken no longer than 96 hours prior to arrival into Colombia, after they reopened borders on September 21, 2020.
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