Colombia extends closure of river, land borders until June 1

Colombia extends closure of river, land borders until June 1

BOGOTA (Reuters) – Colombia will keep its land and river borders closed for three months, until June 1, as it tries to curb the spread of coronavirus, its migration agency said on Saturday.

“We cannot lower our guard,” Juan Francisco Espinosa, director general of the migration agency, said in a statement. “Covid doesn’t distinguish between nationalities and we must follow the recommendations of the health authorities, in order to overcome this pandemic together.”

The borders were expected to reopen on March 1. While they remain closed, exceptions to the measure include freight transport, health emergencies, and other unforeseen emergencies, the agency said.

Air travel will not be affected by the rules.

Earlier this week the government said it would extend its health state of emergency until at least May 31.

The Andean country, which closed its borders in March last year, was due to open its borders on Saturday. It is the top destination for Venezuelan migrants fleeing the long-running social and economic crisis at home.

More than 1.7 million Venezuelans are currently in Colombia, according to figures from the agency.

Colombia has reported more than 2.2 million cases of coronavirus, as well as 59,518 deaths, according to the health ministry.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; editing by Diane Craft

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