Colombia’s President Ivan Duque said Thursday that the country’s airport authorities will ban the arrival of foreign flights for 30 days starting Monday.
The ban includes the transit of passengers at Bogota‘s El Dorado airport.
Foreigners who want to leave the country will still be able to, according to Duque.
The president made the announcement after local media picked up that Uruguay’s foreign minister had said that Duque offered the airport to facilitate the transit of citizens from countries throughout South America who are stuck abroad.
The president had come under increasing pressure over his failure to close to airport.
In a press conference, Duque said that the 30-day flight ban that disallows the return of Colombian citizens “is a painful, but necessary measure.”
Land and sea borders had already been closed.
We have maintained the line that Colombians can come to our country, but we need to exercise pedagogy, which is why we are going to use the capacity of Migration Colombia and other authorities, including the health secretaries, to do the respective follow-up and guarantee that Colombians who have entered the country are complying with the compulsory isolation.
President Ivan Duque
“We know these decisions have all sorts of implications, but we have to do it on the basis that we Colombians understand that this is serious,” the president said.
The use of El Dorado as a transit hub will be reduced gradually and end completely on Monday.
The closing of the airports for all incoming flights allows migration personnel to be used for the enforcement of the compulsory isolation.
According to Migration Colombia, more than 40 foreigners who failed to comply with this isolation order have been expelled, but only one Colombian citizen was reported to the authorities.
The office said it will now also actively be monitoring Colombian citizens.
Health authorities said Thursday that 108 people, including one American tourist, have been infected by the virus, mainly in the capital where 43 people have been reported ill and one has recovered.