September 26, 2023
Other Norms

Colombia Health Ministry Once Again Reinstates PCR Covid-19 Test Mandate for All International Arrivals

Colombia’s on-again, off-again mandate for all international passenger arrivals to pass a PCR test against Covid-19 is – yes indeed – on again.

In an April 1 official bulletin from Colombia’s Health Ministry, the Ministry now insists that all airline passengers must have passed a PCR test within 96 hours of boarding an international flight to Colombia, or else face mandatory quarantine here.

This in spite of the Ministry recently having won an Appeals Court decision last month overturning a prior lower-court order that had mandated PCR tests since January 2021.

However, despite that Appeals Court ruling, Colombia’s border control agency (Migracion Colombia) hadn’t abolished the PCR test mandate. Reason: Migracion Colombia had never received an official order from the Health Ministry to rescind the requirement.

New, even-more dangerous Covid-19 variants from Brazil, South Africa, the UK and elsewhere explain the new decision to keep the PCR mandate, according to the Ministry.

“Given the appearance of the new variants and the contact with people of different origins in closed spaces, despite the ventilation of the airplanes, this forces us to take extreme measures,” stated Health Ministry epidemioglogy director Julián Alfredo Fernández Niño.

“Due to the pandemic, we had had several administrative acts for domestic flights that were updated and also two for international flights. Now we are merging into one, with specific recommendations that go into effect on April 7, 2021,” Fernández added.

For example: Prior restrictions banning the use of on-board entertainment systems are no longer necessary if such systems “are properly disinfected” by airline personnel, he said. Additionally, blankets once again can be used aboard flights, “subsequent to disinfection, given that the evidence of contagion by surfaces is little,” according to the Ministry.

“On the other hand, some recommendations are maintained, such as passengers keeping silent while on the plane. Likewise, on flights of more than two hours in which people can eat, they must do so at intervals assigned by rows, to avoid having all people remove their masks at the same time.”

Another continuing recommendation is that all passengers wear surgical masks during the flight, and in the case of adults over 60 years of age, N95 masks are specified.

In addition, passengers must continue to update their “CoronApp” data for domestic flights and the “Check-Mig” data for international flights.

“The reason we believe ‘CoronApp’ is effective is because it now connects to the results of Covid-19 samples and reveals whether people have tested positive in the last 14 days,” Fernández added.

As a result, “travelers who have had positive tests in the last 14 days, have been in contact with a suspected case of covid-19 or have symptoms, will not be able to travel,” according to the Ministry.

A complete copy of the new rule (Resolution 411 of 2021) is now published on the Health Ministry’s website (, explaining updates to Resolution 1517 of 2020 and Resolution 1627 of 2020 for domestic flights and Resolution 2532 of 2020 and Resolution 002 of 2021 for international flights, as well as Circular 007.

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