Argentine and Chilean authorities have reached a solution to the crisis affecting some 3,000 lorry drivers crossing the Andes through the Cristo Redentor-Libertadores route, it was announced.
As a result of diplomnatic negotiations, truckers will be required to produce a negative PCR test from no more than 72 hours prior to commencement of the journey and will no longer tested for antigens at the Los Angeles border control, which is what the drivers drivers had been demanding while blocking the road.
However, randome tests will be performed on those who do not have the PCR test or have one but from before the 72-hour limit.
According to the agreement signed by Argentina's Ambassador to Chile Rafael Bielsa and Santiago's envoy to Buenos Aires Nicolás Monckeberg, sanitary checkpoints for trucks will be open from 7am to 2pm, thus increasing the time lapse during which travel can take place.
Over 3,000 trucks have been stranded at the border crossing due to the protest against the delays caused by more restrictive COVID-19 protocols enacted by Chilean border forces since Jan. 14. The drivers had to improvise kitchens to eat and showers to bathe, waiting for changes in the sanitary regulations that are required in Chile to be able to cross the border. Argentine truckers also claimed they were subject to mistreatment on the part of Chilean migrations officers, who were understaffed to handle the average 1,000 daily trucks. Chile had deployed five health posts to carry out antigen tests, with an average of 150 daily results.
The situation had already affected lorries from Paraguay, Brazil, Uruguay and Bolivia seeking to deliver their good to Chilean ports on the Pacific shore. Paraguay's consulate in Mendoza even carried out an emergency operation to bring food and water to the nearly 500 drivers of that nationality stranded in the middle of the Andes.
Paraguayan diplomatic authorities had stressed the conflict affected the free transit of goods, thus causing damage to the economy.