On 12 February, Chile’s new Migration Law went into effect with the publication of its by-laws, which led to the application of a procedure known as reconducción or “redirection” of refugees and migrants entering Chile through irregular crossings, causing bottlenecks of refugees and migrants in Pisiga, Bolivia. According partners, despite the application of the “redirection” under the new Chilean Migration Law, and the difficult weather and terrain along these routes, refugees and migrants continue to arrive and attempt to enter Chile irregularly from Bolivia (and also Peru), many in dire economic circumstances with little capacity to meet their basic needs. Inter-agency monitoring missions carried out by multiple R4V partners during the latter half of February observed between 200 to 300 refugees and migrants crossing Bolivia at Pisiga daily en route to enter Chile, the vast majority Venezuelans, comprised of approximately 65 per cent women and 10 per cent children under the age of 10. On 16 February, a group of nearly 200 people were stopped from entering into Colchane from Bolivia, according to the Chilean National Police (Carabineros).
During the beginning of January, Argentina was the worst affected country by COVID-19 in Latin America, reaching a test positivity rate of 69.83 percent – well above the 10 percent recommended by the WHO. As of 29 January new requirements for entering Argentina are in force with persons with a complete vaccination schedule 14 days not needing a COVID-19 test prior to entry the country, if comin g from a neighbouring country. At least 80 per cent of the population has completed vaccination against the disease. In Uruguay, the Ministry of Public Health (MSP) approved modifications to the decree that authorizes the entry into the country of Uruguayan citizens, foreign residents and foreigners: those who have had COVID-19 from 10 to 90 days prior will be exempt from negative PCR up to 72 hours before, and to comply with preventive isolation. As of mid-February people can enter the country as well with only an antigen test. In Paraguay, on 23 February due to the improved epidemiological situation in the country, the Government decided that it will no longer issue a new decree on sanitary measures and with it the provisions that established restrictions since the beginning of the pandemic ceased to apply. However, the modalities to be followed by travelers to enter the country remain in force and the use of masks remains mandatory both in closed spaces and in open places where distance cannot be maintained.
In Uruguay, during January and the the first ten days of February, 207 asylum claims by Venezuelans were registered in the country, whether in person or online, most of them at the Rivera border with Brazil. In Argentina, partners remain concerned about cases of rejections at borders in the city of Puerto Iguazú -particularly cases involving children and adolescents-, with no possibility of requesting asylum at the border and that the lack of registration of such applications.