Brigard Urrutia
  January 15, 2021 - Colombia

Bulletin Real Time: Latest News
  by Brigard Urrutia

Read the latest news

1. Air travelers arriving to Colombia must provide evidence of a negative PCR test to be allowed entry

On December 31st, 2020, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection (Ministerio de Salud y Protección Social) modified the biosecurity protocol for the international air transportation, adding the following measures:

  • Airport operators must prohibit the consumption of food and beverages in immigration or emigration areas.
  • Prior to boarding in the country of origin, airlines must require evidence to passengers related to a negative PCR test, regardless of the age of the traveler, and issued within a term no longer than 96 hours before the flight.
  • Passengers with fever or respiratory symptoms associated with COVID-19 will not be allowed to board.
  • Airlines should recommend the use of type N95 masks to those over 60 years of age or those with comorbidities.
  • Allow the boarding of travelers who in the country of origin do not present the negative result of the PCR test, only when they state that they had difficulties to take it or to obtain the result in the term stipulated for the flight. In these cases, the airline must inform the traveler that once they enter the country, they must perform the PCR test and keep preventive isolation for 14 days. Isolation can end earlier if the PCR test result is negative.
  • Recommend people to remain silent to avoid contagion.
  • If operational terms permit, there must be an empty seat between passengers.

 

2. Emergency use of the Pfizer vaccine was authorized by local regulator.

In view of the expectation of the arrival of the vaccines in Colombia, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection explained that the authorization was possible thanks to an early and transparent dialogue with the pharmaceutical company Pfizer and with all the homologous regulatory agencies of world reference, such as the United States Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and the European Medicines Agency. On December 31st, 2020, Pfizer filed the application for the sanitary authorization for the emergency use of the vaccine and two working days later the authorization for its entry into the country was delivered. This will allow the vaccination plan drawn up by the National Government to be fulfilled in the first weeks of 2021. With the authorization granted, the vaccine may be imported into the country by Pfizer SAS and the National Disaster Risk Fund, for the immunization of persons over 16 years of age, as long as they do not have a history of serious allergic reactions to the components of the product. The sale to the public must be made under a medical formula and promotional and advertising activities are prohibited, as well as the stocking of medical or gift samples.

 

3. Tourism regulation affecting foreign platform operators becomes effective in Colombia.

Law 2068 was enacted by the Congress of Colombia aiming to regulate key aspects related to the promotion of tourism in Colombia. This Law defines tourist service providers as all persons based in Colombia or abroad, that directly or indirectly provide, mediate, contract, market, sell, or reserve tourist services. An electronic or digital platform of tourist services, in accordance with the provisions of the Law, should be understood as one that allows tourists to search and find a tourist service, contact the provider, reserve and / or pay for said service. The operator of the electronic platform will be the individual who manages, operates, or represents the tourist services platform. RReal time January 15, 2021 The Law states the types of infractions for tourism service providers, such as presenting false information, using misleading advertising, not complying with the services offered to tourists, operating without prior registration, and allowing the promotion, offer, or provision of tourist services in places that are prohibited or that do not have the required permits. When tourist service providers incur any of these infractions, the authority may impose administrative sanctions. The Law regulates other key aspects such as the prohibition of the provision of tourist accommodation service to children who are not accompanied or authorized by their parents, the temporary exemption from VAT for hotel and tourism services until December 31st, 2021, and the economic support to air transport companies to promote the provision of this service in regions with difficult access and connectivity. Finally, the Law establishes a new scope for the special contribution of tourism, which will be generated by the provision of tourist services. The above means that this contribution cannot be transferred to the user of tourist services. The National Tourism Fund will be the entity in charge of collecting this contribution.