A Single Flight Carried 44 COVID-19 Positive Passengers To Argentina

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The Argentinian Government is discouraging people from traveling internationally after a flight from Cancun to Buenos Aires registered 44 COVID-19 positive cases. Later on, another 55 cases, arriving on other flights from the Mexican city, have been found.

Aerolineas Argentinas
In a single flight between Cancun and Buenos Aires, there were 44 COVID-19 positive cases. Photo: Getty Images

Fortunately for the travel industry, Argentina has given no signs of scaling back on its travel restrictions after it closed its borders completely for more than seven months in 2020. Let’s investigate further.

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What happened in Cancun?

During the last days of February, several students traveled from Buenos Aires to Cancun to celebrate their graduations. There have been at least 35 different student groups traveling from Argentina to Mexico in the last month. Many have had positive COVID-19 cases in the last few days.

The Mexican city in the Caribbean is a favorite hot spot for Argentinian travelers looking for white beaches.

Currently, only one airline is flying non-stop between Cancun and Buenos Aires. That is Aerolíneas Argentinas on flights AR1370 and AR1371. The carrier uses an Airbus A330-223 to fly between both cities on Sundays, Mondays, Thursdays, and Saturdays.

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The Argentinian newspaper El Clarín says that 44 passengers out of 149 arrived at Ezeiza International Airport with positive PCR tests last Sunday.

Additionally, on Monday, March 15, another 55 positive COVID-19 cases have been registered in Buenos Aires, added El Clarín. Plus, at least two student groups are currently stranded in Cancun.

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Ezeiza International Airport Argentina Getty
Ezeiza International Airport in Buenos Aires is the only international gateway for Argentina. Photo: Getty Images

Issues with the PCR tests?

The students’ families claim that there were some issues with the PCR tests in Mexico. Currently, Mexico doesn’t have any travel restrictions for foreign travelers. But, knowing that the situation is different in every country, many labs are offering COVID-19 tests.

The Argentinian students took a PCR test before boarding up, and the results were negative. But, in Buenos Aires, they took a new test showing up a positive result to COVID-19. So what’s going on?

The Mexican authorities are currently investigating several labs in Cancun, says El Clarín. There are testimonies of Argentinians receiving fraudulent tests with negative PCR results allowing them to board their planes.

Aerolineas Argentinas Getty
Argentina is pleading its citizens to avoid non-essential international travels. Photo: Getty Images

What is the Argentinian Health Authority saying now?

After the arrival of the first 44 COVID-19 infected travelers, the Argentinian health authorities issued a statement.

They are saying:

  1. Avoid non-essential international travels.
  2. Travelers must present a PCR negative test done 72 hours before boarding.
  3. After arrival, travelers must self-quarantine for ten days.

But that’s not all. According to the International Air Travel Association’s (IATA) COVID-19 Travel Regulations Map, Argentina still has several restrictions.

For instance, flights from the United Kingdom to Argentina are suspended until April 9.

Plus, international passengers are not allowed to enter the country until this date as well. Only nationals, residents, families, spouses, and partners with registered partnerships can travel to Argentina.

Additionally, not every passenger must present a PCR negative test, according to IATA. This does not apply to:

  1. Passengers younger than six years.
  2. Passengers with a positive COVID-19 test result issued at most 90 days before arrival and proof of medical discharge issued at least ten days after the positive test.
Mexico Getty airlines
Cancun Airport has had a V-Shaped recovery from the COVID-19 crisis, mainly because Mexico doesn’t have travel restrictions. Photo: Getty Images.

Travel connectivity reduced

Finally, during the weekend, the Argentinian authorities established a new measure to reduce the flight frequencies for international travel.

In an attempt to reduce the COVID-19 infections, Argentina is reducing to 30% the number of weekly frequencies to Mexico, Europe, Peru, Ecuador, Colombia, Chile, and Panama.

Plus, there will only be 10% of the average monthly frequencies to the US and 20% to Brazil.

Currently, the main international carriers in Argentina are Aerolíneas Argentinas, LATAM, American Airlines, Copa Airlines, Iberia, Aeromexico, Boliviana de Aviación, and Avianca.

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