Pandemic affects Bolivian trade through Chilean ports

Pandemic affects Bolivian trade through Chilean ports

The Bolivian government sent a medical team to the border with Chile on Tuesday, where dozens of Bolivian truckers carrying cargo to Chilean ports are stranded on suspicion of having tested positive for coronavirus and are not being allowed to enter that country.

The problem worsened since the weekend when 90% of truckers were forced to return to Bolivia after testing positive at the Chilean health post, but these tests are not entirely correct, “they are expired,” said Marcelo Cruz on Tuesday, leader of the International Transport.

According to Cruz, the truckers who carry export cargo to the port of Arica, in northern Chile, take tests in Bolivia, but Chilean health workers carry out antigen tests again. “It is not possible that, out of every ten road workers, nine test positive if they are vaccinated. The nasal swabs used by Chilean health workers are out of date,” he stressed.

For his part, the Vice Minister of Foreign Trade, Benjamín Blanco, said that on Tuesday a sanitary brigade will arrive at two border crossings with Chile to test the carriers while the government takes steps with its Chilean counterpart to overcome the conflict.

The situation has been complicated due to the cold and the intense snowfalls in that region of the highlands at more than 4,000 meters high.

More than 75% of Bolivian foreign trade passes through two ports in the north of Chile and in recent years disagreements between the customs of the two countries have been recurrent since Bolivia lost a lawsuit before the International Court of Justice of the Netherlands in 2018 to obtain from Chile an outlet to the sea in compensation for the maritime coast that the Bolivians lost in a war with the Chileans at the end of the 19th century.

Both nations do not maintain diplomatic relations and tension is frequent between both countries. Bolivia also shares borders with Brazil, Argentina, Paraguay and Peru.

Although the presence of the omicron variant has not been confirmed, Bolivia is currently facing a rebound in infections that the authorities expect to reach a peak at the end of the year holidays.

A total of 19,459 people have died from the virus while the vaccination that is carried out for those over five years of age is in 58% of the planned population, according to the Ministry of Health.

Melissa Galbraith
Melissa Galbraith is the World News reporter for Globe Live Media. She covers all the major events happening around the World. From Europe to Americas, from Asia to Antarctica, Melissa covers it all. Never miss another Major World Event by bookmarking her author page right here.