All travelers arriving in Colombia will be required to provide either proof of a COVID-19 vaccination scheme or PCR test taken within 72-hours of a flight if unvaccinated, to be allowed into the country announced President Iván Duque, and confirmed by Health Minister Fernando Ruíz Gómez.
The new measure as from December 14 comes amid the Omicron variant and leading cause in new coronavirus infection across most of Europe and Africa. Health Minister Ruíz also stated that Colombia would not impose restrictions on airlines flying to the country.
The pre-flight requirements apply to Colombians, Colombian residents, diplomats and their families, as well as tourists. All persons are also required to fill out the Migración Colombia web pre-registration form CheckMiG with information of their trip. Vaccination cards will be valid when a traveler was inoculated at least 14 days prior to boarding a flight. “The justification for being vaccinated 14 days before the flight is that during this period the desired protection is achieved with a vaccine,” stated Minister Ruíz.
Passengers who were vaccinated less than 14 days before their flight must also present the 72-hour PCR test. “We are not going to prohibit entry to any Colombian resident, everyone can enter and, for that, if they have not been vaccinated, they must bring proof,” highlighted the head of the country’s health portfolio.
The minister warned airlines have the obligation to enforce the measure and must request either PCR results or vaccination card at the time of boarding. “Colombia has been increasing rapidly vaccination rates, surpassing many richer countries at least in first dose coverage, and for this reason, the government has taken the new decision,” stated Minister Ruíz.
The director of the country’s migration entity Migración Colombia, Juan Francisco Espinosa, emphasized that the new measure will facilitate immigration procedures given the space limitations within El Dorado International Airport with the start of the end-of-year holiday travel season. More than 1,200 passengers are expected to pass through Bogotá’s El Dorado during peak hours.
Espinosa called on Colombians to make use of the fast-track emigration mechanism BioMIG and fill-out the obligatory Check-MIG before heading to the airport. El Dorado International handles 60% of the country’s international travelers, and in December, the airport expects to receive an estimated 5,900 flights – or 12 every hour.
The new travel requirements come as Colombia reported 1,698 additional cases of coronavirus on Monday, putting the national total since the outbreak in March, 2020, at 5,082.762. The country also reported 41 deaths from the disease, 37 taking place over previous days and included in the most recent tally.
No case of Omicron has been detected by health authorities in the country, but Minister Ruíz, has not ruled out that the infectious variant “could already be circulating in several regions of the country.”
On Monday, Colombia closed-in on 60 million COVID-19 doses administered since the roll-out began in February, and averages some 300,000 doses per-day among the population. Colombia’s vaccine coverage, including first and second doses, has reached 73% of the population, and number above the United States and Germany, yet at par with the United Kingdom.