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Covid-19 Prevention Controls Expand in Aviation Covid-19 Prevention Controls Expand in Aviation Source: Avianca

Colombia Updates Covid-19 Restrictions for Domestic Flights; ‘Pilot’ International Flights in September Will Require Covid-19 Tests

Published in Other Norms Written by  August 31 2020 font size decrease font size increase font size 0
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Colombia’s Health Ministry announced August 30 that passengers traveling to San Andres island -- or any other Colombian Department (state) with special vulnerability to Covid-19 outbreaks -- must get a Coronavirus test within 48 hours prior to boarding the aircraft.

What’s more, “pilot” international flights starting in September will require passengers to pass a Covid-19 test prior to boarding any such flight, the Interior Ministry announced.

Such restrictions potentially could expand beyond certain areas to include many more domestic flights – not just international flights -- if mayors and governors in certain areas decide that passenger flights threaten to cause more Covid-19 outbreaks.

According to the new Health Ministry bulletin, “for those Departments with a Covid-19 contagion rate of less than 1,000 per 100,000 inhabitants and whose main access route from other departments is only by air, a special protocol is established in order to protect the population.

“People who wish to travel to these destinations must have a Covid-19 antigen test, which must be negative. The result of the test should not be greater than 48 hours before boarding the plane, and it should be carried out by the laboratories provided by the EPS [health insurance network].

“The cost of the test will be assumed during the first 60 days by the [Colombia] health system. Authorization for taking the tests will be made with the purchase and issuance of the ticket.
Alternatively, the person may pay for the test with their own resources,” according to the Ministry.

Test results “will be sent to Coronapp [cell-phone application] and will be delivered to travelers, who must present the result before boarding the plane.

“If the result is positive, [then] you will not be able to make the trip and will have to refrain from showing up at the airport and maintain isolation at home.

“Installation of the Coronapp application is mandatory for at least one member of the family or group where they must register the trip and present [evidence of the installed application] at the airport.”

On a parallel track, origin and destination airport personnel must take body-temperature readings and screen for possible Covid-19 symptoms, according to the Ministry.

“All biosafety protocols must also be complied with by both workers and travelers, which include permanent hand washing, physical distancing, avoiding crowds and permanent and correct use of masks,” according to the Ministry.

“In the event that a traveler exhibits symptoms before the flight, this person must immediately inform the airline, as well as their EPS, and consequently this person will not be able to fly. If this situation occurs at the destination and the result of a Covid-19 test is positive, [then] that person or more members of that family must do strict isolation-in-place as determined by the local authorities.

“In this case, it is the traveler who will assume the cost of the isolation process. In addition, the airline must reissue the return ticket to the city of origin only after the period of isolation or quarantine has ended, determined by the health authority,” according to the Ministry.

Travel to San Andrés

From the first week of September, flights to San Andrés are now allowed, the Ministry noted.

“For those travelers to this destination, it is important to take into account the following protocol:

“1. Once the air ticket is purchased, the antigen test for Covid-19 must be performed, the result of which, in order to travel, must be negative. In addition, this result cannot be greater than 48 hours prior to your trip. To take the test, consider the following steps:

“2. Contact the following phone lines: in Bogotá (1) 307-7171; Medellín (4) 448-6115 – 444-7428, and Cali (2) 386-5666, to schedule the appointment for taking this sample.

“3. Taking the sample is free and can be done in person at the laboratory, at an autolab (without having to get out of the vehicle) or at home, for which an additional cost must be paid. The result of the test will arrive to your email, six hours after the taking.

“4. On the day of your trip, show up at the airport with your identity document, ticket and the result of the Covid-19 test. Without these documents you will not be able to travel.

“5. During the stay on San Andres island, if one of the members of the traveling group has symptoms, then they should contact their EPS or go to a hospital.

“6. In case of positive Covid-19 test results, strict isolation will be carried out at the Iguana Gorda hotel [on San Andres island] in order to activate the protocol and the airline will extend the ticket until this period is completed,” according to the Ministry.

International Flight ‘Pilot’ Tests

Meanwhile, Colombia President Ivan Duque announced August 30 that a few “pilot” test flights to and from international destinations will begin in September.

“We are going to begin to reestablish those international flights,” Duque said during a nationally televised address on the Covid-19 situation.

“Obviously, the [international flights] will not yet be as dynamic, fully, as we had before the pandemic,” he said.

“We are already identifying those routes. We have already had requests from [the Mayors of] Barranquilla, Cartagena, Medellín [and] Pereira,” he said.

Ministry of the Interior spokesman Daniel Palacios added during the broadcast that all major and many smaller airports in Colombia will be open as of September 1.

“We are developing biosecurity protocols for international flights where, at a minimum, there will have to be a negative test (of Covid-19) by the traveler entering the national territory,” Palacios said.

Read 2327 times Last modified on Last modified on August 31 2020

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Medellin Herald is a locally produced, English-language news and advisory service uniquely focused upon a more-mature audience of visitors, investors, conference and trade-show attendees, property buyers, expats, retirees, volunteers and nature lovers.

U.S. native Roberto Peckham, who founded Medellin Herald in 2015, has been residing in metro Medellin since 2005 and has traveled regularly and extensively throughout Colombia since 1981.

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