At the end of March, the government of Argentina announced that entry requirements to the country would be normalized to pre- pandemic conditions. Border crossings will be reopened and a sworn statement will be required from residents and non-residents and COVID-19 insurance for international tourists. The new measures would imply the elimination of the requirements for negative PCR tests and a certificate of vaccination against COVID-19 for entry into Argentina. In Bolivia, a decrease in COVID-19 infections was reported at the end of March, and there was a 10-fold reduction in the fatality rate compared to the first wave. Despite the improvement in indicators, the government continued to encourage the population to maintain biosecurity measures and to get vaccinated. In Paraguay, it was announced that the decree that established restrictions to contain the spread of the virus would not be extended in the face of a decline in the numbers of infections and deaths. However, the requirements to wear a mask in closed places and to present a vaccination card to enter the country remained in place. As of 23 March, 80 percent of the population in Uruguay had received at least two doses of the COVID-19 vaccine. A decree was issued that allows entry into the country with a rapid antigen test and removed the obligation of a PCR test. The Ministry of Public Health (MSP) analyzed data on the pandemic that marked a downward trend and contemplated the possibility of decreeing the end of the pandemic.
On 14 March, the Chilean Government signed a decree to extend the State of Exception in the northern part of the country, highlighting that “the conditions that justified it in the first place are still in force” in order to respond to the current refugee and migration situation. The military and police continue to be deployed to the border to prevent the entry of refugees and migrants through irregular border crossings. According to R4V partners, despite the extension of the State of Exception in Chile, the military deployment, adverse weather conditions and an increase in trafficking networks and protection incidents in that area, refugees and migrants continue to try to reach Chile by crossing irregularly from Peru to Bolivia and from Bolivia to Chile. Situations have been identified in which human traffickers leave refugees and migrants abandoned in the middle of the Chilean-Bolivian altiplano. R4V partners in Pisiga indicated that almost 300 people passed daily from Pisiga (Bolivia) to Colchane (Chile) during March, including an estimated 32 percent children and infants and 4 percent older adults, and that comparted to previous arrivals, these groups were identified to be in extremely vulnerable situations.
In recent weeks there has been a slight increase in flows from the Bolivian Chaco to Paraguay. The Paraguayan authorities reported the disappearence of a Venezuelan national who attempted to enter from Bolivia to Infante Rivarola and noted the arrival of family groups in precarious economic conditions and with children and infants who do not have a complete vaccination schedule.