Colombia to gradually reopen international flights from Sept. 21

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia will gradually reopen international flights from Sept. 21, following a six-month period during which they were suspended to contain the spread of coronavirus, Minister of Transport Angela Maria Orozco said on Thursday.

The Health Ministry is drawing up security protocols that include requiring travelers to take a coronavirus tests and for their results to be negative, Orozco said.

“International flights will restart with a gradual first phase which will be announced shortly,” the minister said in a recorded statement.

The resumption of international flights will depend on destination countries, airport capacity, and the interest of the airlines, Orozco said.

The South American country suspended international and domestic flights at the same time it closed its land, sea and river borders in March, before entering a national lockdown which ended in August.

Domestic flights have restarted to a limited extent, but land and sea borders will remain closed until at least Oct. 1.

It is unlikely that international flights will increase the transmission of coronavirus in Colombia, given the current state of the pandemic in the country, the Health Ministry has said previously.

Colombia has so far reported more than 694,000 confirmed cases of the disease and 22,275 deaths.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Leslie Adler