Easter Island lifts tourist entry ban due to covid-19

Easter Island, a Chilean island territory in the middle of the Pacific, suspends, as of this Monday (1st), its ban on entry for tourism, imposed two years ago to prevent contagion from the coronavirus.

A first flight with tourists, mostly with reservations made before the pandemic declared at the beginning of 2020, will arrive on Thursday (4) at Mataveri international airport, in Hanga Roa, the island’s capital, informed the Undersecretary of Tourism, Verónica. Kunze, to the local press.

“We have to open up the island, but we have to do it safely,” Kunze said.

Located about 3,500 kilometers from the American continent and with about 7,000 inhabitants, Easter Island is one of the most visited tourist destinations in Chile. Before the pandemic, it received about 160,000 tourists a year, who arrived on two daily flights.

The reopening will now be gradual, with just two flights a week. Anyone boarding to the island must have their anti-covid vaccines up to date and carry a negative PCR diagnostic test, done 24 hours in advance.

The stay for tourists cannot exceed 30 days. Kunze said that, with this gradual reopening, it is estimated that between 10% and 15% of accredited tourist services on the island, famous for the gigantic stone sculptures, the moais, that protect the place, will reopen.

The undersecretary also recalled that the hospital in the area was reinforced and a sanitary shelter was installed to isolate the possible infected, as well as a laboratory to carry out PCR tests. “The island was prepared everywhere” to receive tourists, she stressed.

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