The mayor of Colombia’s capital Bogota called for stricter border checks on Thursday to slow down spreading of the Omnicron coronavirus variant.
Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez called for compulsory Covid tests for incoming travelers after National Health Institute (INS) director Martha Ospina spoke out against closing airports.
Ospina, an epidemiologist, told newspaper El Tiempo that closing the border failed to stop the virus from entering the country.
The most effective measures are to ensure that people carry vaccination cards upon entry into the country and to request PCR tests for unvaccinated persons.
INS director Martha Ospina
The INS chief didn’t rule out that the coronavirus’ Omnicron variant of the coronavirus, which is believed to be more contagious, had already entered Colombia.
In response, Lopez called on Health Minister Fernando Ruiz to demand that people traveling from abroad show negative results of a PCR test from less than 24 hours before arrival.
Bogota “has the biggest airport” and would be more vulnerable in the event of a surge in hospitalizations due to Covid-19 infections, according to the capital city’s mayor.
Ruiz didn’t immediately respond to Lopez’s plea.
The health minister has opposed travel restrictions throughout the pandemic that was first confirmed in Colombia in March last year.