Colombia Won’t Immediately Reinstate PCR Test Mandate for Airline Travelers to Colombia: Health Minister
Colombia’s Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced December 1 that international air travelers to Colombia won’t have to pass a pre-flight PCR test for Covid-19 — nor spend 14 days in automatic quarantine here — despite a recent Bogota District Court order.
“Travelers entering the country will not have to undergo the PCR test for Covid-19 until the concerns raised by the judge who made the decision to demand [PCR testing proof] again in the national territory are resolved,” Minister Ruiz announced.
“It is practically impossible to make an immediate application of the ruling that orders the application of PCR tests to travelers entering the country. I want to give some peace of mind to travelers and let them know that from the Health Ministry, we will make the best decision” on whether to appeal the decision, he added.
The announcement from Minister Ruiz follows a sentence handed down last week by an 11th District Court in Bogota, in response to a petition brought by lawyer claiming that Colombia’s recent abolition of PCR tests for international travelers threatens further spread of Covid-19.
The Health Ministry on November 4 had abolished a prior regulation that required all international passengers flying to Colombia to pass a PCR test within 96 hours of boarding the flight.
Instead, passengers now must go through a body-temperature checkpoint at departure and arrival, wear face masks, report any possible symptoms, and fill-out the “Check-Mig” cell-phone application that’s linked to Colombia’s “Sustainable Selective Testing, Tracking and Isolation” (PRASS) system for Coronavirus contact tracing.
Any passengers subsequently showing Coronavirus symptoms are required to enter quarantine here.
In addition, “airlines must inform their passengers that when they arrive in Colombia they will be monitored by their [health] insurer, the Ministry of Health or through the CCNR National Tracking Contact Center,” according to the Ministry.
While the PCR test is highly accurate, the problem with any one-time test up-to-96-hours before a flight is that a person in early stage of Coronavirus infection – including those asymptomatic — typically won’t have generated enough antibodies to generate a definitive result even with PCR, the Health Ministry noted.