SANTIAGO – After several months of border closures affecting tourists, Chilean authorities have given the green light to reopen. Starting in December, non-residents can enter with a negative PCR test and health declaration. However, until further notice, entry into Chile will only be possible through the international airport in Santiago.
Undersecretary of Public Health Paula Daza on Tuesday, Nov. 10, confirmed that Chile would start reopening its borders to tourists as part of a loosening of coronavirus restrictions. Initially, the borders were closed to all. Subsequently, they were reopened for Chilean citizens and people with formal residence in the country. Beginning in December, Chile will reopen to tourists.
Tourists who wish to enter Chile must follow certain health protocols:
- Tourists can provide a negative PCR test taken less than 72 hours before arrival; those who can’t, must quarantine for 10 days and will be followed by a tracking system.
- Before arrival, tourists must submit a health declaration regarding possible Covid-19 symptoms.
- Tourists only enter Chile through the Arturo Merino Benítez Airport in Santiago; other airports and terrestrial borders will remain closed for international travel.
Although the decree has not yet been published, Daza emphasized that the opening of the borders is a gradual process and if it appears the planned reopening doesn’t result in an increase in coronavirus cases, other borders and airports might be reopened, too.
Izkia Siches, president of the Medical College and fierce critic of the Health Ministry amid the pandemic, expressed her doubts about the reopening of the border. “It is difficult to track tourists, we are still having problems to track cases in Chile,” she said.
Claudio Castillo, a professor in Public Health at the University of Santiago told Cooperativa that the protocol “is absolutely insufficient.” He warned that Chile should not open its borders to all countries and that tourists should also provide a PCR test taken at the moment of arrival.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.