Beginning Thursday, passengers arriving in Ecuador at the Quito and Guayaquil international airports must show a negative PCR test or proof of vaccination completed 14 days earlier. Results of an antigen test will no longer be accepted, the national Emergency Operations Committee decided Friday. The COE also stiffened requirements for those arriving from Brazil and India and said that other countries may be added to the list to which additional requirements apply.
According to Minister of Health Ximena Garzón, the new rules are intended to keep the Covid-19 delta variant out of the country for as long as possible. “We are extremely concerned about delta due to its high rate of transmissibility and we are doing everything possible to protect the health of Ecuadorians.” Garzón said that the COE will review entry rules for foreign arrivals every 15 days and changes will be made on an “on-going basis as required.”
State epidemiologist Jorge Machuca said Sunday that there is no way to keep delta out of the country entirely. “Cases will show up at some point. Our intention is to delay mass infections from delta until we have vaccinated a larger percentage of the population since it has been proven that vaccines are effective against it, especially severe cases. We also want to delay the arrival of the lambda variant from Peru, which is also more contagious than earlier strains.”
The new rules require that the negative PCR test be conducted no more than 72 hours from the arrival of travelers.
According to the new rules, passengers from Brazil and India must present both a certificate of vaccination and a negative PCR test and undergo a mandatory 10-day quarantine. “These are extreme measures but we want to err on the side of caution given the state of the pandemic in other countries,” Garzón said.
She added that travelers planning to visit Ecuador should check entry requirements on a frequent basis. “The rules will be subject to change every 15 days based on epidemiological surveillance. Always check with the health ministry website or the airline you are traveling with for current requirements.”