Carlos Mellado

Puerto Rico Health Secretary Carlos Mellado.

Puerto Rico Health Secretary Carlos Mellado López signed Administrative Order 2021-499 to establish the requirements to travel to Puerto Rico.

Per the order, travelers are subject to a $300 fine if they do not present a negative COVID-19 test result, taken within three days or 72 hours before their arrival. However, the fine will be dismissed if the traveler presents their results in the BioPortal system within 48 hours upon their arrival to the island.

"We are complying with the mandate of Gov. Pedro Pierluisi to establish more restrictive measures that allow us to control the spread of the virus and, in this way, slow the rise in infections. We are seeing the behavior of the disease a little more aggressive, which moves us to take changes that allow us to protect life, health and medical-hospital resources," Mellado said.

According to the official, the new provisions also apply to passengers who have received one dose of the COVID-19 vaccine or have completed their vaccination process.

Also, it orders the laboratories to give priority to travelers who arrive in Puerto Rico and go to the laboratory to perform the PCR.

"Airports have been identified by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) as a possible source of easy contagion, for these purposes, and in keeping with the governor's priorities, we prioritize implement measures that help prevent and control the spread of the virus. We want them healthy and we will continue working until we can stop the pandemic," Mellado stated.

Moreover, people who have recovered from COVID-19 can continue to test positive for up to 90 days after their infection. For this reason, people who have recently recovered from COVID-19 are allowed to travel without presenting a negative result to a molecular test to detect the coronavirus. However, it is required to attach evidence online of their recovery history in the traveler's declaration.

Likewise, any passenger whose molecular test result is positive will be responsible for assuming all medical expenses and their stay. The traveler will have to stay in isolation until the Health Department rules otherwise.

The agency will provide a list of laboratories, by region, to which passengers can go and undergo said test without having to present a medical order or a referral. Passengers must remain in quarantine until they have a negative molecular test result, which should not exceed 48 hours.

After they've done that and submitted their results to the BioPortal, the system will consider the Department's requirement to be fulfilled and will eliminate the administrative fine from the system.

Mellado underscored that “any passenger who acts against the orders and guidelines of the Department of Health will be imposed an administrative fine of no more than $5,000.00. In the case of a second occasion, the fine may be up to a maximum of $10,000."

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