In a ceremony held at midday on Sunday, the Chilean President presented the first phase of the plan to re-open Chile's borders to foreign citizens not resident in the country. It will start to come into effect at midnight this Monday, November 23, and will be extended gradually, depending on the developing health situation, to other airports and other points of entry by land and sea into the country.
“These important steps, which will undoubtedly improve the quality of life of all Chileans, must not by any means lead to a weakening of the personal precautions that we must adopt such as washing our hands frequently, wearing a mask, and social distancing; nor must it mean a weakening of our strict compliance with the health regulations imposed by the authorities,” said the President, who was accompanied by Interior Minister Rodrigo Delgado, Health Minister Enrique Paris, Economy Minister Lucas Palacios and Transportation Minister Gloria Hutt, as well as Health Undersecretary Paula Daza.
President Piñera added that: "The coronavirus is still with us. We cannot relax our precautions; we must take care of our health, we have to learn to live with it."
The plan to re-open Chile's borders is based on three fundamental, strictly applied conditions. The first is health safety and protection, requiring travelers to present an affidavit on their state of health, travel plans, and contacts in Chile, and a negative PCR test no more than 72 hours old.
Foreigners entering Chile must also take out a health insurance plan that will cover any medical services associated with coronavirus which they may incur during their stay in Chile.
Secondly, the borders will be opened gradually; this implies that the plan will be implemented by stages, starting with today's stage, the re-opening of Arturo Merino Benítez Airport in Santiago.
The third principle is traceability and control, meaning that everyone who enters the country, Chilean or foreigner, will be subject to a surveillance period of 14 days, during which they must report their location and state of health daily to the health authorities, to ensure that they are well controlled and monitored.
Finally, President Piñera stressed the promising progress made towards vaccines against COVID-19, which are being produced and are being tested in Chile.
“I want to say very clearly that our government has been taking all the necessary measures for a long time now, including signing contracts, for example with laboratories like Pfizer, AstraZeneca, Johnson & Johnson and others, to ensure that once a safe, effective vaccine exists in the world, duly authorized by the health authorities, we can obtain supplies quickly to protect the health and the lives of all our fellow citizens,” he concluded.