Covid testing policy creates truck jams at Chilean border

Trucks at the Bolivia-Chile border. Dmitry Chulov/Shutterstock
Trucks at the Bolivia-Chile border. Dmitry Chulov/Shutterstock

Amid skyrocketing Omicron cases throughout Chile, the Health Ministry has tightened the country’s Covid border restrictions. As a result, thousands of cargo trucks have to wait in line for coronavirus tests before entering Chile, South America’s main exit to the Pacific Ocean. 

The situation mainly affects Chile’s borders with Argentina and Bolivia.

Bolivia’s Foreign Trade Ministry claims that the border collapse causes losses of roughly USD 10 million a day, with roughly 1,000 truckers waiting to cross the border. Landlocked, Bolivia’s only option for overseas foreign trade goes through Chilean ports.

In Paso Cristo Redentor, the busiest land crossing between Argentina and Chile, over 2,000 truckers are queuing to enter, per the Argentinian Federation of Cargo Transport Companies.

After Chilean customs workers went on strike last Friday after registering an outbreak of Covid-19 cases among employees, the government ordered truckers to take PCR tests to cross the border. Customs also suspended service to the public on weekends.