Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Entry restrictions increased in all South American countries to combat spread of COVID-19, through at least mid-April.

The locations affected by this alert are:

  • Argentina
  • Bolivia
  • Brazil
  • Chile
  • Colombia
  • Ecuador
  • Falkland Islands
  • French Guiana
  • Guyana
  • Paraguay
  • Peru
  • Suriname
  • Uruguay
  • Venezuela

This alert began 03 Apr 2020 02:33 GMT and is scheduled to expire 20 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Travel restrictions
  • Location(s): Regional (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least early April
  • Impact: Flight cancellations, quarantine measures, business disruptions

Summary
As of April 2, authorities in South American countries have implemented travel and other restrictions through mid-April as part of efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The duration of the measures will likely depend on the course of the outbreak.

  • Argentina: Nonresident foreign nationals barred from entering until further notice. Mandatory quarantine nationwide through April 12. Residents may only leave their homes to attend essential businesses and purchase basic goods. Domestic flights and long-distance trains remain canceled. There are tight controls on interprovincial transport.
  • Bolivia: Closure of all land borders to nonresident foreigners; all international passenger flights remain suspended, and passenger vehicles prohibited from inter-departmental road travel. Nationwide quarantine imposed through at least April 15. Officials permit the purchase of essential goods on days determined by the last digit of a passport or national ID card.
  • Brazil: Officials have banned the entry of all nonresident foreign nationals between March 30-April 30. All land borders closed through April 15, and arrivals by sea remain banned through April 30. State and federal level restrictive measures in place; non-essential commercial activity remains limited.
  • Chile: Officials have banned the entry of nonresident foreign nationals indefinitely, while Chilean citizens and residents must self-quarantine for 14 days since the moment they enter the country. Authorities have imposed a nightly curfew between 2200-0500 until further notice. Additional regional restrictions are in place.
  • Colombia: Authorities have banned all entries into the country starting March 24. All land borders remain closed except for commercial transport. A nationwide lockdown is in place until at least April 13. People may only leave their residences to purchase basic goods, attend a medical emergency, or go to work at an essential business.
  • Ecuador: Temporary entry ban for nonresidents, citizens and legal residents, and closure of all land borders through April 5. Suspension of all interprovincial public transport services through March 31 and all domestic passenger flights through April 5. A 1400-0500 curfew remains in effect until further notice.
  • Falkland Islands: All flights from South America remains canceled through at least April 24. Flights from the United Kingdom are available to essential personnel only. Ferry services between islands remain canceled.
  • French Guiana: Most international flights remain suspended. Authorities have imposed a nightly curfew between 2100-0500 through at least April 15. Between 0500-2100, residents may leave their residents to purchase basic goods, obtain medical care, or engage in essential economic activities.
  • Guyana: Officials have suspended all incoming international flights through at least May 1. Land borders are closed to passenger traffic, as are seaports. Ferry services remain suspended. Authorities have also canceled classes nationwide and advised the population against large gatherings and international travel.
  • Paraguay: All international flights suspended and land borders remain closed through April 12. Most citizens are not allowed to leave their homes between the hours of 2000-0400 until April 12, except for emergencies. Most travel from Asuncion to the rest of the country is prohibited.
  • Peru: Officials impose nationwide curfew 2000-0500 through at least April 12. Some regions under 1600-0500 curfew. Borders remain closed to all passenger traffic, and international flights remain canceled. Residents may leave their homes only for essential activities between 0500-2000. Men and women may only leave their houses on different days of the week.
  • Suriname: Closure of all land, air, and seaports of entry through at least April 14. Nighttime curfew 2000-0600 for two weeks from March 29. Closure of schools and ban on gatherings of more than 100 people.
  • Uruguay: Officials have banned the entry of nonresident foreign nationals, except citizens of Paraguay, Brazil, and Argentina who are on transit to their countries. Multiple business restrictions and a ban on gatherings of ten or more people are also in place.
  • Venezuela: Nationwide movement restrictions imposed starting March 17; exceptions allowed for essential activities. All flights from Europe, Colombia, Panama, and the Dominican Republic remain canceled.


Countries could expand restrictions in the coming days, particularly if the number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 increases.

Background and Analysis
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. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize 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). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int