Hard debate over PCR tests to international travelers

Various reactions have elicited the dispute between the Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, on the one hand, and the administrative judge 11 of orality of the Bogotá circuit, Giovanni Legro, and the lawyer Alberto González Mebarak, on the other, as a result of the guardianship ruling that orders to reactivate the requirement of PCR tests for international travelers who want to enter the country.

For now, Ruiz announced that he will challenge the ruling since “it is not feasible (to comply) because it has economic and health effects”.

Faced with the contempt incident that González filed after the official asked the judge for clarification of the decision, Ruiz responded that “contempt is a manifest attitude of ill will, negligence, seek to dull the conscience or deceive justice and this is not our situation. Ours is the impossibility from the sanitary point of view and the defense of public health ”.

And added that a quarantine measure for 120 thousand people who travel each month, “Implies effects on mental health and public tranquility.”

epidemiology

Before the discussion, the epidemiologist Diego Roselli he told this newspaper that “if we had the perfect test, with a fast result and good reliability, it would be helpful in national or international travelers half an hour, or something like that, before boarding. But the PCR performed 96 hours before the trip is of little use: a negative test does not exclude an infectious person, and a positive one can mark someone who had the infection but has already overcome it, and does not infect it “.

And the expert added that “PCR is an excellent test to detect the disease in symptomatic subjects, but it is not as reliable in asymptomatic or presymptomatic subjects (those who are incubating the infection), and these are precisely the ones that would travel in an airplane. Likewise, countries with a low number of cases may have a justification in trying to avoid the arrival of foreign cases. In the phase of the pandemic in which we are in Colombia, I do not see it justified”.

Legal

The criminal lawyer Óscar Sierra warned in this medium that “due to the importance of the issues that are discussed in a protection action, which are fundamental rights, first instance rulings are immediately enforceable. The Government can challenge so that the superior of the judge revokes, but in the meantime it must comply with the order.

He adds that, however, “The Government has said that it is impossible to comply with this order, and it is a principle of law that ‘no one is obliged to do the impossible’, which does not constitute contempt ”.

Finally, the lawyer explains that the mess must be resolved in a contempt incident, “In which the plaintiff would have to inform the judge that the Government is fraudulently refusing (with intention) to comply with his order and the judge must listen to the reasons that the Government alludes, and if the judge concludes that his order is not being carried out fraudulently and being able to do so, it can even punish the minister with arrest ”.

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