Colombia plans to resume international flights later this month as it gradually eases some restrictions after months of a hard lockdown.

From September 21, international flights will operate in and out of the country, though land, sea and river borders remain closed for the foreseeable future. In a statement released today, the minister of transport, Angela Maria Orozco, said that the United States, Mexico, the Dominican Republic, Brazil, Ecuador, Bolivia and Guatemala will be the first destinations that Colombia will reopen to in terms of air travel; and passengers will be required to present proof of a recent negative coronavirus test result upon arrival. "The entire sector is committed to complying with the biosafety protocols defined so that this operation is carried out safely," stated Ms Orozco.

Colombia began easing some restrictions on September 1 after six months of a hard lockdown. Bogotá's El Dorado airport opened on Tuesday to domestic passengers traveling for the first time since March. And on Sunday, thousands of cyclists participated in the weekly car-free Ciclovía, or Bicycle Way, the first time the event happened since the national lockdown came into effect in March. 

A group of performers dressed as clowns remember people to mantain social distancing and wear face masks in Bogota
A group of performers dressed as clowns remember people to mantain social distancing and wear face masks in Bogota, Colombia ©Sebast NurPhoto via Getty Images

Officials say the country has now passed the coronavirus peak but a national sanitation emergency remains in place until November 1. Bogotá has introduced a four-day plan to minimize contact between citizens, allowing some businesses and workplaces to operate on four day cycles within the week. Under the plan, restaurants are open from Thursday to Sunday and will operate at 25% capacity, while people can shop for non-essential goods between Wednesday and Sunday.

Colonial buildings and balconies in the historic center of Cartagena
Life is returning back to normal in Cartagena, Colombia ©Jess Kraft/Shutterstock

In Medellín, restaurants, bars and hotels have reopened with new health and safety guidelines in place. And in the holiday hotspot of Cartagena, local media reports that beaches will gradually open in the next few weeks with new zoning rules in place to keep people safe. Elsewhere in the country where outbreaks are taking place, local authorities are implementing specific restrictions to help contain the spread of the virus.

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