By the last week of March, Chile was reporting more than 6,000 active COVID-19 cases per day, and the Government announced a return to complete quarantine (phase 1) for most of the country, putting some 42 municipalities and more than 14 million people under strict quarantine measures. Flights abroad will be restricted for 30 days during the month of April, both for Chilean citizens and foreign residents. y. To continue its inmunization work during this pandemic, Chile has ordered 90 million doses of vaccines, more than enough to immunize its 19 million citizens, out of which more than 30 per cent of the population had received one or more doses by the end of March.
Partners reported that refugees and migrants were using other unofficial border points to enter the country from Bolivia to avoid the strict control measures put in place in Colchane, entering instead through cities such as Ollagüe, Tocopilla, and Pedro de Atacama to reach Calama. In interviews with partners, Venezuelans expressed fears of approaching the authorities out of a belief that they could be deported, based on experiences of other Venezuelans and also based on the latest annoucements as announced by the Chilean authorities. As a result, many Venezuelans were reported to be sleeping on the streets and avoiding entering into transitory quarantine shelters (residencias sanitarias) out of fear of being identified and expelled.
The Government launched an online regional campaign against irregular migration, with a specific focus on cities like Tacna and Lima (Peru), La Paz (Bolivia), Quito (Ecuador) and Bogotá (Colombia) in the Andean corridor, which are frequently used by Venezuelans traveling to Chile. The main campaign video warns against entering Chile irregularly, shows military border monitoring, and emphasizes how Chile is preparing new flights to expel people who entered the country irregularly.
Under the framework of the Vuelta a la Patria Plan, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs from Venezuela confirmed that 202 nationals returned from Chile in March.
Another ruling issued by the Court of Appeals of Iquique accepted in favour of five Venezuelans who entered Chile through unauthorized border points was challenged by the Government before the Supreme Court and this time it was confirmed by the Supreme Court in favour of the Government. The Supreme Court considered that the administrative acts with which the deportations were decreed were within its powers.