John Doe* decided it was time for a trip to Colombia despite the fact that the country is witnessing a surge in new coronavirus infections and cities and towns across the nation are in lockdown. For the traveler, who before boarding his flight to Bogotá had tested positive for COVID-19, the pandemic in the country was hardly a deterrent, nor the fact that during the four-hour flight from Houston he was willing to put the safety of his fellow passengers at risk.
When Doe arrived at dawn in the Colombian capital, during the obligatory screening, Doe admitted to health authorities that he had tested positive for coronavirus, and before reaching the immigration area, removed from the queue and placed in custody. According to Migración Colombia, the U.S citizen never had contact with immigration officers and United Airlines was notified of transporting an infected passenger in direct violation of regulations decreed under the National Health Emergency.
In a statement released by the country’s immigration authority, “if the positive result for Covid-19 is corroborated by the health officials, the foreigner could be immersed in administrative and legal sanctions, for putting the country’s health security at risk.” Migración Colombia confirmed that during the last week since PCR testing for international travelers once again became mandatory, some 39,000 people have arrived in the country and only two cases required mantatory isolation inside the airport.
Juan Francisco Espinosa, director of Migración Colombia, highlighted that since the outbreak of the pandemic last year only 11 active cases have been reported among immigration staffers – less than 5% of the total officers working at El Dorado airport.
Resolution 002, issued by the Ministry of Health on January 5, states that travelers who have not conducted a PCR test outside the country have the opportunity to take the test upon arrival, yet must self-isolate until the results are processed. All passengers are also required to give the exact address of where they will quarantine regardless of where the PCR test was performed in order for Migración Colombia and Ministry of Health officials to monitor the movements and health status of foreigners.
On Wednesday, Colombia registered an additional 15,898 coronavirus cases raising the nation’s total to 1,831,980. The total number of active cases also increased to 114,705.
*Name changed to protect the identity of the passenger.