May 19, 2024
Laws & Regulations

Colombia by Itself Won’t Block International Flights: Health Ministry

Colombia’s Health Ministry officially announced August 27 that it no longer intends to block international flights to and from Colombia. But other nations have yet to reciprocate.

“After analysis with epidemiological information that suggests that Colombia is reaching the peak and observing a reduction in the speed of transmission of Covid-19, added to other estimates, the national government considers that conditions do not persist to keep international flights closed,” according to the Health Ministry bulletin.

“In consideration of the current state of the pandemic in Colombia, since it is unlikely that the flights will further increase transmission and the progressive opening that is allowed [under newly modified Colombian quarantine rules taking effect September 1], conditions do not persist to maintain closed international flights to and from the major capitals of the country.”

However, Colombia’s Civil Air Administration (Aerocivil) — along with health/transport regulators in other nations — also must evaluate whether such flights “would have a potential impact and if [they] will produce significant changes in the incidence of the pandemic,” according to the Ministry.

“The Ministry has been making a continuous analysis of international studies on the risk of spreading Covid-19 through national and international flights. It has been concluded that the risk varies according to the evolution of the pandemic in the places of origin and destination.

“However, already in a context of community circulation of the virus — local transmission or community transmission — many countries have also recently restarted international travel and many others are preparing to start them,” according to the new Ministry analysis.

“If the biosecurity measures already established [in Colombia] for domestic flights are met, [then] the probability of a traveler becoming infected with covid-19 is less than 1%, according to the Barnett study (2020),” according to the Ministry.

“Regarding the possibility of [infection] risk in recipient [cities and nations], this is reduced if strategies such as contact tracing and selective isolation of contacts are implemented, as well as measures at airports.

“In this sense, it is considered that the opening of international flights should be done in consideration of the international health regulations and the biosafety protocols defined by the Ministry of Health, with permanent monitoring of their epidemiological impact,” the Ministry concludes.

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