Last night, Colombian President Ivan Duque announced that Colombia’s nationwide mandatory isolation, travel & activity ban will be extended for another month, at least until August 30. The mandatory lockdown, with some exceptions for essential activities, was set to end this week, but because of COVID-19 contagion rates and the high level of occupancy in the country’s intensive care units, the President in consultation with health experts, has extended the stay-in-place order.
‘With the experts we have made the following decision. Mandatory Preventive Isolation, as a general criterion, will last until August 30, ‘said the President in the television program’ Prevention and Action ‘, which is broadcast from the Casa de Nariño, the country’s presidential palace.
President Duque asked that in these four weeks “we all understand that we have to make a great effort to protect ourselves.”
Entertainment venues such as bars, clubs, theaters, auditoriums, amusement parks, game rooms and casinos are completely shut down, and have been since March. Restaurant dining rooms are completely closed, and there are no commercial passenger flights allowed, save for one small propeller-powered route between the regional cities of Bucaramanga & Cúcuta.
In most urban areas, Colombian residents are only allowed out on certain days based on the last digit of their cédulas, or national ID cards. On these designated days, they may visit stores to make purchases, conduct banking, or obtain medications. Stores, banks, and shopping centers check the ID of each visitor to verify that it is his or her legal day to be in public, and check body temperature before admission. Police also have checkpoints in urban areas and on highways.
The president indicated that decisions are still being studied regarding allowing drive-in movies, and what to do about schools, and the country’s SABER national educational exams that students must pass to graduate from secondary education.
Colombia has experienced “moments of high stress in ICU (Intensive Care Unit) occupancy, increases in infections, increases in deaths,” said President Duque during his nightly television address. “”We are aware of this behavior and that is why our call is that in these four weeks we all understand that we have to continue making a great effort to protect ourselves with these guidelines.”