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The following is intended as an overview of significant events since March 2020, which we will continue to update based on the best information available at the time. However, we strongly advise that you check your respective government's travel advice for the region before making any travel decisions, as the situation is fast evolving and Swoop will not be held liable for any actions or decisions taken as a result of the information provided below.
Covid-19 cases in Chile continue to steadily decrease allowing businesses, restaurants and shopping malls to reopen, and some inter-regional travel is permitted. Some regions, however, remain in strict lockdown, including the southern region of Magallanes, located in Patagonia, which is experiencing an upsurge in cases.
Argentine president Alberto Fernandez announced a 14-day period of increased quarantine restrictions in most of the country due to the spread of Covid-19 cases (ending 25th of October). Inter-provincial movement remains highly restrictive and international borders remain shut.
While some ‘special departure’ international flights are resuming service into Buenos Aires (American Airlines and Aerolineas Argentinas return from the US, Miami specifically, and British Airways from London) Argentina is still not yet accepting tourists, only returning residents.
A confirmed date for the resumption of national and international flights in Argentina still hasn’t materialised. Each provincial government must agree on the protocols to be implemented and accept the opening of its borders for this to occur. Both Chile’s and Argentina’s borders remain closed to non-nationals or residents.
Chile’s President announces the extension of its Official State of Emergency for a further 90 days.
An easing of restrictions on international flight restrictions in September to and from Argentina was announced by the National Government and Civil Aviation Authority. Aerolineas Argentinas, Air Europa, Air France, KLM, Iberia and American Airlines will begin operating routes between Buenos Aires and Europe, the USA and some regional neighbours, on a weekly or bi-weekly basis, with a plan to incrementally increase frequency as conditions allow.
A lack of clarity still exists around the resumption of domestic flights within Argentina, as of yet no official announcement has been made.
The Chilean Health Minister announces a national 10% drop in new Covid-19 cases over the past 14 days.
Argentine Minister for Transport has stated that internal flights in Argentina will not commence on the 1st of September, as had been announced by the government back in April. The minister has said that flights will be highly restricted and could resume operation within the next 60 days. The timeframe for the resumption of international flights has not yet been clarified.
Falklands/Malvinas air links with the continental mainland of South America will remain suspended until at least the 2nd January 2021 for flights to/from Punta Arenas in Chile, and until the end of September for flights to/from Sao Paulo. These dates are provisional and the situation will be reviewed nearer the end of that period.
The opening of the borders in Argentina is still scheduled from 1st September. No visitor visas are being considered until 1st September, and all commercial flights continue to be suspended. The re-opening of the borders and resumption of flights is not guaranteed after 1st September, it may or may not happen, but for now, that is the date. Once borders open it's not clear yet whether visitors from all countries will automatically be accepted and what the parameters would be.
President of Chile, Sebastian Piñera, announces that the overall countrywide cases of COVID-19 are steadily dropping. Northern areas of Chile are the most at risk for new COVID-19 cases.
Buenos Aires metropolitan area enters phase 2 of its easing of confinement measures. The relaxing of quarantine measures has allowed families to leave their homes at certain times, and commerce to resume.
Lockdown is reimposed in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area after a rise in coronavirus cases following gradual relaxation of confinement measures during the previous few weeks. At this point, the rest of the country is experiencing more relaxed measures, with no obligatory confinement.
LATAM Argentina declares they will stop operating all of their 12 national flight routes in Argentina as a result of their economic situation. Several regional flights between neighbouring countries will also be significantly reduced.
Chile's LATAM Airlines files for US bankruptcy protection. LATAM, Latin America's largest carrier, says it will continue to fly through its bankruptcy restructuring, although its Argentine branch will cease.
Argentina blocks commercial flight sales until September
Chile introduces a curfew in the worst affected areas of Metropolitan Santiago, along with complete shut-down in some areas of central-northern Chile.
Chile suffers its first reported Covid-19 associated death.
All national and international flights into Argentina are grounded. Only repatriation flights can bring Argentine nationals or foreign residents into the country. Inter-provincial public transport is also completely shut down.
Chile closes all borders for entry. Only Chilean nationals and foreign residents can enter and must comply with 14-day self-isolation measures. Airlines implement a dramatic reduction in flights in and out of the country.
Argentinian President, Alberto Fernandez, announces the closure of the country's borders to all non-residents in order to prevent the spread of Covid-19. Provincial/state borders in the country begin to be blocked for travel. According to the Ministry of Health, there are at least 56 cases of the virus nationwide.
Flights from Europe and the United States are suspended.
Argentina begins closing certain land-border crossings in an attempt to stem the entry of the virus into the country.
WHO (the World Health Organisation) makes the assessment that Covid-19 should be characterized as a pandemic.
Argentina registers the first Covid-19 related death in Latin America.