Colombia’s Transport Minister: International Flights Banned Through August 31
Colombia Transport Minister Ángela María Orozco announced last night (May 20) in a nationally televised presentation on Coronavirus regulations that regular international passenger flights to and from Colombia will be banned through August 31.
The surprising announcement came just one day after President Ivan Duque stated that international and national flights — except for rare emergencies and humanitarian repatriations — would be banned at least through June 30.
However, aside from allowing repatriation and emergency flights, Colombia also continues talks with various air transport regulators and health regulatory officials on potential ways to reopen passenger air traffic, she said.
In the same televised presentation, President Duque and Commerce (MinCIT) Minister Jose Manuel Restrepo added that starting June 1 – in coordination with local mayors – shopping centers can start to reopen, but with maximum 30% capacity in order to avoid crowding and cross-contamination.
Medical specialties such as dentistry also would begin to reopen under strict health protocols from June 1, along with wholesale and retail operations (30% capacity limit), barber/beauty parlors (30% capacity limit) and other commercial operations.
On another front, Colombia’s Health Minister Fernando Ruiz announced during the same broadcast that new guidelines to contain Covid-19 have been issued for family homes.
Rationale: More Colombians are returning to work under biosafety rules and local mayor approvals, while children are now permitted to go outside three times/week and also will start returning to schools under alternating physical/virtual schedules in August.
The new biosafety guidelines “consider the new scenario, in which children can go out and some members of the household are authorized to resume work activities outside the home and must use means of transportation,” according to the Health Ministry.
The new advisory includes recommendations on personal washing, disinfection of the home and bathrooms, pets, prevention measures when entering and leaving the home and measures for users of private vehicles, motorcycles and bicycles.
“It also includes aspects at a psychosocial level such as the need to share domestic tasks and chores, free-time management and the balance of time in educational and work tasks and care-giver rotation,” Ruiz added.
In addition, the Ministry is developing new guidelines so that starting June 1, people 70 years and older — and children 5 years and younger — can start to escape quarantine for limited periods.