Severity: Warning Alert

Entry/Exit: Entry restrictions in place in most South American countries due to COVID-19 through at least late March. Confirm flights and appointments.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Suriname
  • Venezuela

This alert began 12 Mar 2020 22:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 12 Mar 2020 23:00 GMT.

  • Event: Travel Restrictions
  • Location(s): South America (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least late March
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, quarantine measures, business disruptions

As of March 12, authorities in several countries in South America have implemented travel and other restrictions through at least late March, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The duration of the measures will likely depend on the course of the outbreak.

  • Argentina: People who have been in China, Iran, South Korea, Japan, Italy, France, Spain, Germany, Switzerland, Norway, Netherlands, Sweden, Denmark, UK, Belgium, Austria, Czech Republic, Iceland, Portugal, Finland, Slovenia, Ireland, Poland, and US will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period. There will not be new visas for residents of the most affected countries for a temporary period.
  • Bolivia: Officials temporarily canceled all flights to and from Europe, starting March 14.
  • Chile: People arriving from Spain and Italy will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
  • Colombia: People arriving from China, France, Italy, or Spain will be subject to a 14-day quarantine period.
  • Ecuador: Travelers coming into the country from the Hubei province in China, Spain, France, Italy, and Iran, will be subject to a 14-day quarantine.
  • Guyana: Travelers coming from Jamaica, Dominican Republic, Brazil, French Guiana, Panama, St. Vincent and the Grenadines, US, China, Italy, South Korea, Singapore, Japan, Thailand, Malaysia, and Iran will be subject to additional screenings and may be subject to quarantine.
  • Paraguay: Suspension of issuance of new visas for Chinese passport holders.
  • Peru: People arriving from China, France, Italy, or Spain are subject to a 14-day self-quarantine.
  • Suriname: Restricted entry for nonresidents who have traveled in mainland China within 14 days before their arrival.
  • Venezuela: Officials canceled all flights coming into the country from Europe and Colombia.

Countries could expand travel restrictions in the coming days, particularly if the number of COVID-19 confirmed cases increases. Officials in most countries have also announced additional measures to combat the spread of the infection, including a ban on mass gatherings, and temporarily cancelling in person-classes in schools and universities. Multiple private businesses and public offices are allowing employees to work remotely. Health screenings in airports have also increased.

Background and Analysis
Older individuals, infants, and those with chronic illness are more susceptible to infection and are at increased risk for severe complications. Human-to-human transmission can occur, though it remains unclear how easily the virus spreads between people.

Coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions.

Contact your airline to confirm travel. Confirm entry requirements before embarking on travel to the region. Follow all official instructions. Allow additional time for immigration and health screenings. Consider delaying travel if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny, delays, and potential quarantine.

Exercise basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands).

WHO advice for international travel

WHO coronavirus knowledge base