Colombian President Ivan Duque has announced the resumption of international flights after remaining suspended for five months due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The first post-closure Viva Air Colombia flight to Miami departed the Rafael Nunez International Airport in Cartagena on Saturday, Xinhua news agency reported.
Before the flight took off, Duque along with several other officials inspected the air terminal’s bio-security protocols.
During the last five months, the Cartagena airport has carried out more than 90 humanitarian operations, repatriating around 3,000 people.
The Office of the President said in a statement that in order to enter Colombia after September 30, it will be mandatory to submit a negative Covid-19 test taken within 96 hours before the flight.
Visitors must also fill out the “CheckMig" registry, available on the Colombian immigration department’s website, arrive at the airport three hours ahead of the flight, and wear a face mask.
Starting September 21, international flights from other cities in Colombia will also formally restart.
Bus terminals, restaurants and gyms reopened in most of Colombia recently as the South American nation attempts to reignite its economy following months of restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic.
The step expanded previous moves that allowed shops, construction sites, shopping malls and factories to resume operations in June in most of the country’s cities.
Hospital occupancy rates and deaths from the new coronavirus have stabilized across much of Colombia over the past 10 days, prompting the national government to lift more of the emergency measures that had been in place for five months, including a ban on most people from travelling within the country.
In the last week of August, Colombia reported more than 8,000 confirmed cases of the virus a day, down from a record 13,000 cases on Aug. 19. Daily deaths peaked at 400 on Aug. 22, with the daily number falling to around 300.
Colombia has the seventh-highest total of confirmed cases in the world, at more than 610,000. Almost 20,000 people have died from COVID-19 in the South American country.