Ecuador will not rush to open its land borders with Colombia and Peru until a mechanism is found to guarantee health security measures in coordination with neighboring governments.
“We depend on the decisions taken by neighboring countries, especially Peru, which has had a much longer duration of its pandemic and infections than ours,” said Government Minister María Paula Romo.
Romo added that the case of Colombia is similar because, “the restrictions have also been extended much further than ours.”
Last week, Colombian President Iván Duque said that his Government was studying the reopening of the land border with Ecuador on or about November 1st—the border has been closed since March due to the covid-19 pandemic. Duque said he had already spoken about the reopening with his counterpart, Ecuador President Lenín Moreno.
“What we hope is that this week (…) we can have a teleconference with the Ecuadorian team to set ourselves the task of reopening the border as of November 1st,” said Duque.
But Romo insists that “there is no date for the opening yet,” although “it is not ruled out either. We are working on it.”
One of the obstacles is a request from the Tulcán Emergency Operations Committee (COE), on the border with Colombia, which has asked that the closure be extended for another month.
“We have the discussion between governments and also the position of the sectional governments and we are trying to make the necessary considerations. The first consideration always has to do with avoiding the spread of the virus where the contagion has been better controlled,” said the Minister.
Ecuador was one of the first countries in the region to open its air borders, but land borders, Romo explained, are much more complicated due to the volume of people.
“It is much easier to control biosecurity issues at air borders. We are talking about much lower numbers of people entering and leaving the country because, in addition, the air frequencies are much lower than in other times.”
Despite the closure of borders, Romo said that “the traffic of goods, services and commercial traffic have not been suspended at any time during the pandemic,” but that “precaution” in the case of people requires knowing in advance “what type exams will be requested; what symptoms are to be checked; how easy, depending on the number of people, the topic can be converted is what we are discussing.”