US News: nearly 2 years after the closure of his borders, the Easter Island will host tourists in February

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who have been cut off from the world for more than a year and a half because of the pandemic, the inhabitants of the Easter Island have voted to find out if they have to reopen or not their territory to tourists.

the Chilean Island of the South Pacific, 3,700 km from the coast of Chile, is known for its impressive megaliths at the mysterious origin and has some 10,000 inhabitants, 60% of the people Rapa Nui - the original name of the island - of Polynesian culture.

After voted against the return of tourists last October - with a record abstention ratio - The Easter Island will finally reopen to the travelers.

closed borders since March 2020

They have not seen a single tourist since March 2020 and the imposition of the state of exception in Chile with sanitary restrictions against coronaviruses. The country recorded more than 1.6 million cases and more than 36,000 deaths since the beginning of the pandemic.

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For its part, the island accounts to this day eight cases of COVID-19 and no new case since September 2020 and there has been no death during the pandemic, according to the data of the local authorities.

In addition to the vote of the Rapa Nui, the final decision returns to the health authorities of the Valparaiso region, of which depends on the island, or the Ministry of Health.

Tourism, an important sector for the inhabitants of Easter Island

"The island draws its income from the tourism industry. It is the source of the economy," says AFP Salvador Atan, vice -President of the local community Ma'u Henua, who administers the Rapa Nui National Park.

Like the local authorities, Mr. Atan is in favor of a re-opening of the island from January 1 to allow the return of tourists.

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It is therefore a matter of deciding between the weak health capacity to deal with the risks of contagion related to the arrival of tourists and the economic necessities of the territory which depends exclusively on these revenues to survive.

73.1% of the population is vaccinated against COVID-19 on Easter Island, but the Hanga Roa Medical Center, the Capital, has no intensive care unit. A single medical ambulance sent from the continent a month ago can carry a patient to life threatened by the COVID-19.

The arrival of the pandemic has shifted the fragility of this island of the world, which attracts 100,000 tourists each year, who came to contemplate the thousand of monumental statues classified as World Heritage by UNESCO.

End of April, the company Latam Airlines suspended the only cargo flight ensuring each week the connection between Santiago de Chile and Easter Island, after a demonstration in the island airport against the arrival of non-residents.

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A resumption of air traffic in February 2022

The air routes will resume in February 2022, finally announced the local authorities on November 19, 2021.

To go there, travelers will have to present an Vaccinal Passport and a Negative PCR test made less than 48 hours before boarding.

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Despite a recovery, the attendance of museums and great monuments still sharp down in 2021 .
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