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 October. 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 Oct. 15:
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 and business restrictions continue in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area. Public transport in the region remains restricted and is to be used only by essential workers. Officials have recently increased restrictions in parts of the country where COVID-19 activity has increased. Outdoor social gatherings of more than 10 people remain banned, as well as all indoor social gatherings until further notice.
Bolivia: All land borders remain closed to nonresident foreigners; all international passenger flights remain suspended until further notice. As of Oct. 15, residents must remain at home 0001-0500 Mondays through Sundays. Religious, cultural, sports, recreation, leisure, entertainment activities may resume outside curfew times, subject to COVID-19 operating protocols. 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, through all states. 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 Oct. 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 masks while in public. Additional regional restrictions and localized quarantines and sanitary cordons are in place.
Colombia: Colombian officials have approved several international flight routes, including to and from cities in the US and Bolivia, Brazil, Dominican Republic, Ecuador, Guatemala, Mexico, and, more recently, Curacao and Panama. Travelers entering the country must provide a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken within the four days prior to the travel. Domestic flights resumed Sept. 1, but all ground and maritime borders are closed until at least Nov. 1, except for cargo and humanitarian reasons. Authorities lifted a nationwide lockdown 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 in the 10 days prior to their arrival or must self-quarantine for 10 days upon arrival. Domestic flights are also allowed. Land borders remain closed to passenger traffic. Officials also lifted nightly curfews, and most businesses are allowed to reopen with certain limitations.
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 of their flight, for both incoming and outgoing travel. Nightly curfews remain in place in most of the territory.
Guyana: All travelers entering Guyana by air will be required to present a negative polymerase chain reaction (PCR). If the test was taken up to 72 hours before their travel they will be screened at arrival without further testing; however, if the test was taken between 4-7 days before travel, they will need as an additional COVID-19 test upon arrival. Land borders and seaports remain closed to passenger traffic. The nationwide 2100-0400 curfew will remain until further notice. Officials will continue to enforce some special measures in Cuyuni-Mazaruni (Region 7), Potaro-Siparuni (Region 8), and Upper Takutu-Upper Essequibo (Region 9) through Oct. 31. Authorities will restrict all unauthorized travel in and out of these affected regions, 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. Until at least Oct. 25, authorities have imposed several restrictions nationwide, including a daily curfew between 0000-0459, a limit on gatherings of 30 people in public and private spaces and of 12 people inside residences. Businesses may open but must limit face-to-face interactions; in-person classes remain suspended. Inter-departmental travel is permitted without restrictions. It is mandatory to wear facemasks in closed public spaces, on public roads, on public transport, and in places where physical distancing is not possible.
Peru: International and domestic travel is now permitted, but limited to flights shorter than four hours. Land and maritime borders remain closed until further notice. A nationwide 2300-0400 curfew is in effect since Sept. 21, with some regions being under a longer 2000-0400 curfew. Officials have lifted some business restrictions.
Suriname: All land, air, and sea points of entry remain closed for passengers, except for limited passenger flights to and from the Netherlands and Dutch-speaking Caribbean Community (CARICOM) countries. A nationwide nightly 2100-0500 curfew is in place. Officials have relaxed some business restrictions.
Uruguay: Authorities have eased travel restrictions, allowing international passengers to enter for several 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 Nov. 12. Business and movement restrictions vary by regions, and in some 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.