If you, a national or legal resident, enter the country through any airport, seaport or land border starting today, Wednesday, the Immigration officers will hand you a Health order that to a mandatory 14-day isolation, a nicer word for quarantine.
But don’t think the isolation is to be taken lightly, no, no, no. Health authorities may be on you at any time, with a visit to your home, by phone and if you show any signs of being sick, the isolation could be prolonged.
Mandatory implies legal repercussions for not complying with the order.
As you are coming from another country and there is a pandemic spreading around the world, you are considered a suspect of carrying the new coronavirus, and are subject to isolation. Period.
When entering the country, Immigration officers will take your contact information and share that information with the Ministry of Health.
From the first day, the local Health units will monitor your condition and could give you medical guidelines.
“We make visits, we make corroborations by phone and, only in some cases where there are conditions, such as immunological problems, could the isolation be prolonged,” explained Health Minister Daniel Salas.
People infected with the new coronavirus are contagious from the onset of the disease, even before symptoms develop.
This is why it is important that you exercise extreme hygiene and bot come into direct contact with family members or roommates to avoid infecting them, especially if they did not accompany you on the trip.
To those living with other people, health authorities recommended locking oneself in a room, avoiding sharing common areas and even using a disposable tableware.
“It is complex to say, because all houses are different, but the ideal would be to be in a room alone, to use disposable spoons and plates as much as possible, as well as to be totally isolated. That would be the ideal option”, said Rodrigo Marín, director of Health Surveillance.
Important. Starting today, isolation will be an order and not a recommendation as has been so far. Everyone arriving starting today will have to submit to the quarantine. No exceptions.
“They (those who enter the country as of midnight on Wednesday) have a health order with which, if isolation is breached, they are subject to criminal charges, fines established in the Penal Code, and even, up to prison for health non-compliance,” Minister Salas warned.
According to article 277 of the Penal Code, the person who disrespects a health measure issued to prevent the spread of an epidemic, is exposed to a sentence of between one to three years in prison, or a fine of between 50 to 200 days salary.
In such case, a judge determines the sanction, including the amount corresponding to each day of the fine, according to the person’s financial situation, taking into account their standard of living, their daily income and the reasonable expenses.