Argentina Closes Border to Foreigners, Tourists, and Citizens
Argentina is a mess. The country’s economy is in a free fall, Covid infections are on the rise, and the government has just spent $1,000,000 on wooden dildos. To make matters worse, the government’s response to the pandemic hasn’t been to get more vaccines, but instead to close the borders to tourists and even their own citizens. Their decision to solely work with Russia to deliver the Sputnik vaccine has caused delivery delays and people, including our own family members, missing their second doses due to supply shortages.
If you were to try and book a flight right now to Argentina, you are likely to be able to make the booking, but unless you have an Argentina passport, you will not be allowed entry.
Closed to Tourism
Just a couple of months ago, I was lucky enough to be able to go to Argentina because my husband Ben is a citizen. Without that link, I would not have been able to enter the country. Upon arrival I was subject to a test, quarantine, and a 9,500 peso “fine” for the luxury of traveling while foreign.
In the first week of July, Argentina announced that they would be reducing the number of international arrivals to only 600 PER DAY. That’s 600 people, from the entire planet, to enter the country each day.
The reason? The immigration officials need to only handle 1 flight every two-four hours in order to properly socially distance and assure that they aren’t overwhelmed.
As a consequence of that 600 person per day limit, the entry of foreigners of ANY nation for any reason is strictly forbidden.
If you don’t have an Argentine passport, you can’t come to the country.
If you have family members there, too bad.
If you have a long distance relationship, too bad.
If you need to go for business, too bad.
The country, trying to squash the outbreak of the Delta variant, has decided that complete isolation is the best way to go, completely ignoring the fact that the virus is already rampant in Argentina. The call is coming from INSIDE the house…
Closed to Argentine Nationals
While not explicitly saying that Argentine citizens cannot return to the country, limiting the daily arrivals to only 600 a day is a death knell for free movement. Recently, the government announced a slight increase in the number of people each week, but still the flights are being reduced.
- Delta Airlines is flying 2 days a week
- United Airlines is flying 4 days a week
- American Airlines is flying 6 days a week from Miami
- Aerolineas Argentinas is flying every day to Miami
This last bullet point is interesting, as the flag carrier, owned for and paid for by the government of Argentina, is allowed to fly daily to Argentina and the USA while other airlines are denied that access.
Europe isn’t any better, as the airlines are shutting down services quickly as well
- Lufthansa is flying 3 days a week
- Air France is flying 3 days a week (cancelled all flights until September)
- KLM is flying 3-4 days a week (cancelled all flights until September)
- Iberia is flying 4 days a week
- British Airlines has cancelled all flights
- Turkish is flying 1 day a week.
This is NOT normal
Argentina is a country of over 45,000,000 people, and all of these airlines were flying daily to the country. Now, with many airlines cancelling their service until September and many airlines dropping down to every other day service, flights for Argentine citizens stuck outside of the country are dwindling.
Mandatory quarantines are being enforced in government run hotels with exorbitant prices, all which line the pockets of local government officials. For example, as part of the government hotel quarantine program, the cost for four meals a day for a child under 12 is $220. Now, I don’t know about you, but I’ve never seen any child need TWO HUNDRED DOLLARS in food a day.
This is being instituted mostly as a penalty for those Argentines that have let the country, admittedly most in order to search for a vaccine in the United States.
It’s estimated that over 40,000 Argentine citizens are stuck outside of their country, so much so that websites have popped up for those stranded outside of the country’s borders to be put up in other’s houses, couch surfing style.
What’s the solution?
Yesterday, just in time for the elections (how convenient), the government has announced that they will stop buying exclusively from Russia and have entered in to an agreement with Pfizer to buy 20 million doses, enough to innoculate about 20% of the adult population.
Consistent, fast, free, and available vaccine availability along with local education is the way to combat the problem at hand. Limiting the entry of foreigners leads the fragile Argentine economy down an even more slippery slope. Also, subjecting their own citizens to crippling costs upon their return also limits the number of citizens that can leave the country in order to save their lives and get the vaccine.
The money exchange in the country has blown out of control in the past couple of weeks. Currently the black market rate for buying the US dollar is 80% higher than the official rate, and it won’t be going down until the country returns back to some sense of common sense and normalcy.
Argentina’s border closure is dangerous, both to their economy, but also their isolation on the world stage. Other countries are moving forward with vaccination exemptions and testing upon arrival, but few countries have downright stopped tourists from entering the country.
While the United States has limited entry from the EU Schengen zone, there are still ways for foreign tourists to enter the country.
Upping access to the vaccines will be a step in the right direction and hopefully allow this once great country to open itself to the rest of the world again.