Severity: Warning Alert

Exit/Entry: COVID-19-related travel and movement restrictions of varying degrees continue in South American countries through at least late September.

Alert Begins 11 Sep 2020 02:10 AM UTC
Alert Expires 24 Sep 2020 11:59 PM UTC

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): South America (map)
  • Time Frame: Indefinite
  • Impact: Significant transport, travel, and business disruptions

As part of ongoing efforts to reduce the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), authorities across South America will maintain travel, business, and movement restrictions of varying degrees through at least late September. The exact duration of the measures will almost certainly depend on local disease activity and the preparedness of local authorities to respond to the disease. The following measures and restrictions remain in place as of Sept. 10:

Argentina: Nonresident foreign nationals remain barred from entering the country until further notice. Limited domestic flights and flights from Argentina to other countries continue. Movement restrictions continue in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, where residents may leave their homes on specific days of the week based on their national identification card numbers. Some businesses have reopened with limitations. Public transport in the region remains restricted and is to be used only by essential workers. Movement restrictions have been eased in most of the rest of the country. Outdoor social gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed.

Bolivia: All land borders remain closed to nonresident foreigners; all international passenger flights remain suspended until further notice. Since Sept. 1, residents must remain at home between 2000-0500 Mondays through Fridays, and between 1600-0500 on Saturdays and Sundays. A regional three-tiered system of varying restrictions has been in place since May, with most major population centers and departmental capitals categorized as high-risk, the highest level. Regardless of the risk level, all industrial, manufacturing, agricultural, forestry, and mining companies may resume operations.

Brazil: Foreign citizens are allowed to enter Brazil by air, except to the states of Goias, Mato Grosso do Sul, Roraima, Rondonia, Rio Grande do Sul, and Tocantins. Before traveling to Brazil, visitors must prove they have health insurance and their visits must not be longer than 90 days. Officials have extended a ban on entry for all nonresident foreign nationals by land and water through at least Sept. 24, with exceptions for passengers en route to another country. Most state authorities have imposed business and movement restrictions.

Chile: Officials have prohibited nonresident foreign nationals from entering the country until further notice, while Chilean citizens and residents must self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival. A nightly 2300-0500 curfew remains in force until further notice. Gatherings of more than 50 people remain banned. All persons are required to wear protective face coverings while in public. Additional regional restrictions and localized quarantines and sanitary cordons are in place.

Colombia: All international air travel remains suspended. Domestic flights resumed Sept. 1, but all ground and maritime borders are closed until further notice, except for cargo and humanitarian reasons. A nationwide lockdown was lifted on Sept. 1 and some businesses have been allowed to reopen with limitations.

Ecuador: Officials lifted the ban on international and domestic flights, but all passengers entering the country must have tested negative for COVID-19 and undergo additional screenings upon arrival. Domestic flights are also allowed. Land borders remain closed to passenger traffic. Business restrictions and nightly curfews remain in place but vary by region based on local disease activity. In municipalities designated as "Code Red," a nightly 1800-0500 curfew remains in place. In municipalities under Code Yellow, a nightly curfew is in force 2300-0500. The use of private vehicles is permitted on certain days of the week based on the vehicle's license plate number.

Falkland Islands: All travelers arriving in the islands, including residents, must self-quarantine for 14 days and provide the address of the place where they will be staying. The availability of flights remains limited.

French Guiana: A ban on entry by most nonresident foreign nationals remains in place until further notice. Residents and citizens may travel to and from Metropolitan France, but must provide a negative COVID-19 test taken within 72 hours of departure for both incoming and outgoing travel. Nightly curfews remain in place in most of the territory.

Guyana: Officials have suspended all international passenger flights until further notices. Land borders and seaports remain closed to passenger traffic. Authorities reimposed a nationwide nightly curfew between 1800-0600 until at least Sept. 30. Officials will continue to enforce some special measures in Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region 7), Potaro-Siparuni (Region 8), and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9) during this period. All unauthorized travel in an out of these affected regions will be restricted, and gatherings are limited to no more than five people, whereas elsewhere, the limit is 10 people. Officials have lifted some business restrictions.

Paraguay: All international passenger flights remain suspended, and land borders are closed, except for cargo and humanitarian purposes. Most of the county has moved to Phase 4 of the nation's COVID-19 recovery plan, except for the Boqueron department and the Carmelo Peralta district of Alto Paraguay Department, which are on Phase 3. Special measures are also in place in Asuncion, Central, and Alto Parana Departments. Since Sept. 2, the so-called "social quarantine" in Asuncion and Central prohibits all individual movements between 2000-0500 daily. Under Phase 4, family gatherings of up to 10 people are allowed, as are cultural events with 20 people and religious ceremonies with up to 50 people. Under Phase 3, restaurants may offer dine-in services, and gyms may open under strict guidelines.

Peru: Borders remain closed to all passenger traffic, and international flights remain canceled. A nationwide 2200-0400 curfew is in effect through at least Sept. 30, with some regions being under a longer 2000-0400 curfew. Additionally, a nationwide curfew between 0001 Sundays and 0400 Mondays remains in effect. Officials have lifted some business restrictions. Domestic flights have resumed, albeit under strict health-related directives.

Suriname: All land, air, and sea points of entry remain closed for passengers, except for limited passenger flights to and from Netherlands. A nationwide nightly 2000-0500 curfew has been in place since July 6. Officials have relaxed some business restrictions.

Uruguay: Authorities have eased travel restrictions, allowing international passengers to enter for a number of reasons, including family reunification or business. All arriving passengers must present a negative COVID-19 test taken within the previous 72 hours and take a second test if they remain in the country for more than seven days. Limited international flights to Spain are also resuming. Some business restrictions remain in place.

Venezuela: All domestic and international passenger flights are suspended until at least Sept. 12. Business and movement restrictions vary by regions, which some under restrictions only allow essential businesses to operate.

Authorities could reimpose, extend, further ease, or otherwise amend any restrictions with little-to-no notice depending on disease activity over the coming weeks.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the nations of South America are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. Some governments around the world have gradually started relaxing some internal measures to allow economic recovery. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, the relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in further relaxation of restrictions.

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.

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