Chile on Tuesday became the latest country to drastically relax the Covid-19 rules required for travelling to and from the country.
A day after it announced the reopening of the remaining closed land borders with Argentina, Bolivia and Peru, President Gabriel Boric's government said it would remove the requirement of a negative PCR test for those entering the country.
Three levels of alert will be retained for entry into Chile, which will be determined based on the international or local circulation of new variants of the virus.
Starting this Thursday, a large part of Chile will enter the so-called "Alert level 1" or low health impact stage, according to Undersecretary of Public Health Cristóbal Cuadrado.
Under this stage, a scenario of community transmission of the already known and controlled variants is assumed.
"In this alert there is no restriction for trips entering or leaving the country and the homologation of vaccines for travellers will be voluntary. Likewise, testing prior to the trip is only recommended, but upon arrival in Chile they may be tested randomly," the Health Ministry confirmed in a statement.
All passengers must fill out a health form and, in the case of non-resident foreigners, they must also bring proof of health insurance that covers the spread of Covid-19, and a random test will be carried out upon entering the country.
"The idea is to minimise the risk of change in the national epidemiological situation due to the emergence of new variants, particularly the variants of concern defined by the World Health Organization" (WHO), added Cuadrado.
Before, to enter Chile, a negative PCR test taken within 72 hours of the trip was required by the authorities.
Cuadrado indicated that the 'Alert 2' stage will be put in placewhen a new variant appears and "prevention and control will be increased."
Upon the designation of the highest stage of alarm, 'Alert 3,' all restrictions will be re-imposed.
The relaxation of measures comes after Chile announced that on May 1 the land borders that were still closed will be reopened.
Since December 22, five border crossings with Argentina have been reopened. In November, the Santiago airport was opened, followed by the terminals in the cities of Antofagasta and Iquique (north) and Punta Arenas (south).
Since the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in March 2020, Chile has recorded 3,515,878 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 57,094 deaths from the virus.