Just like the rest of the world, we have been keeping a close eye on the spread of Coronavirus (COVID-19), and the short answer to this question is: it shouldn’t.
With a lot of luck, South America as a whole has been largely unimpacted by the spread of the disease. Currently there has only been one positive case discovered in Peru (knock on wood) and only a few in the following countries as of March 6, 2020:
- Peru – 1
- Brazil – 8
- Argentina – 2
- Chile – 5
- Ecuador – 13
- French Guiana – 5
- All other countries in SA – 0
How to Stay Safe from COVID-19 (in General) –
So far, ZERO of the confirmed cases in South America have resulted in death, but please frequently check the PAHO (Pan American Health Organization) and WHO (World Health Organization) websites for up to date travel and safety information and follow their guidelines. They currently recommend:
- Frequently washing hands with soap and water or using antibacterial hand sanitizer;
- Covering your mouth and nose with a bent elbow or a tissue when coughing or sneezing;
- Maintaining at least 1 meter (3 feet) of distance between yourself and anyone else coughing or sneezing;
- Avoid touching eyes, nose, and mouth;
- Seeking medical attention early if you have a fever, cough, or difficulty breathing.
What to expect when you get to Peru:
- Plan to spend a little extra time at airports both in Peru and in your home country. You may get asked a few more questions at the border than you would normally expect about where you’ve been traveling and how you are feeling;
- Don’t be alarmed if you see people walking around with medical masks or if officials come up to you and ask you questions about where you’ve been or your general health;
- If you are traveling to Machu Picchu, please be aware that officials may perform a wellness check at the Ollantaytambo train station before boarding;
- If you do feel a fever, cough, or have difficulty breathing, please let your guide or an official know right away so they can direct you to a designated health care location where you can be tested and treated.
Overall, there shouldn’t be a significant concern for those of you planning to travel to South America in the near future. With the limited number of reported cases of COVID-19 and the precautions the countries are taking to help prevent the spread of the disease in South America and throughout the world, you should feel comfortable taking your trip here as planned.
If you have additional questions or concerns, please consult with your health care provider, and regularly check the WHO and PAHO websites and/or the CDC (Center for Disease Control) website for more information.