Closure of All Borders

Mar 18, 2020

On 17 March 2020, the governments of Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Guatemala and the Bahamas announced the closure of all borders of their respective countries — including air, land and sea — to all foreign travelers as part of an overall effort to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The declarations exempt nationals and permanent residents; however, those who arrive in the aforementioned countries from this point forward, and until further notice, are required to complete 14 days of self-isolation. In Chile, the border closure will not affect cargo or trade. Additionally, all schools are suspended for two weeks and gatherings of more than 500 people are banned. Chile has 156 confirmed cases of the new coronavirus, a notable increase from approximately 50 cases on 14 March. In Colombia, the government announced the closure of all land, sea and river borders from 17 March until 30 May and banned public gatherings of more than 50 people.

On 16 March the governments of Ecuador and Honduras announced nationwide curfews due to COVID-19. Ecuadorian President Lenín Moreno declared a state of emergency and announced a nightly curfew from 2100-0500 local time (0200-1000 UTC) beginning on 17 March, while all inter-provincial transportation and domestic flights have been suspended for 14 days. All public services have been shut down except for security, health and emergency services. In Honduras, authorities have imposed a nationwide nightly curfew for seven days, which began at 2200 local time on 16 March (0400 UTC on 17 March). All non-essential businesses have been ordered to close, all public events of any size have been banned and public transportation services have been suspended.

Meanwhile, health officials in Brazil continue to urge President Jair Bolsonaro to take more actions to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 across the country, where more than 230 cases have been confirmed as of 16 March. While a number of countries in the region imposed tighter border controls and limited public and private gatherings, Bolsonaro celebrated with thousands of pro-government demonstrators on 14 March — two days after publicly stating that he would undergo quarantine and observation due to his potential exposure to COVID-19 after his aides tested positive for the virus on 12 March. Separately, on 17 March more than 1,000 prison inmates escaped from at least four prisons in the state of São Paulo after local officials canceled their temporary passes because of fears they could contract COVID-19 and spread it across the prison upon their return. At present, Brazil does not have any entry or exit travel restrictions.

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