Yesterday, Colombia’s President Ivan Duque declared a national health emergency in the country as the number of coronavirus cases in the Andean nation rose to 13.
“By virtue of Colombian law, we are declaring a sanitary emergency hand in hand with the guidelines of the World Health Organization. A pandemic has been declared and that corresponds to us taking faster and faster measures,” said the president at his Unified Command Post.
The president ordered the cancellation of all public events with over 500 attendees, suspension of cruise ship traffic, and in some cases, the preventive isolation of foreigners in hotels, nursing homes, and isolation for ethnic groups consistent with their world view. The president’s office went on to clarify that this means ethnic groups will be able to apply their own norms and beliefs in compliance with the health orders, such as preventive isolation.
The national soccer tournament scheduled for this weekend has been closed to the public, though the game will be played without fans—unless events determine otherwise, he announced.
For at least 10 days, prison visits will be suspended, and no prisoners will be released, in an attempt to control the virus.
The business sector is being invited by the government to institute flexible and virtual work policies in accordance with occupational and workplace health and safety guidelines.
President Duque reiterated the call for Colombians to adopt care and prevention measures, including constant hand washing with ample soap and water.