COVID in Colombia, in the eye of the world

Colombia is currently the fourth country in Latin America with the most COVID cases while facing the longest quarantine in the world .

Woman wearing a mask

Colombia reports more cases of COVID-19 every day and is subjected to mandatory quarantines. / Photo: Pexels

LatinAmerican Post | Juliana Suárez

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Leer en español: COVID en Colombia, en el ojo del mundo

The situation in the Latin American country is in the eyes of the world as cases continue to increase exponentially and while many parts of the world have already passed their peak, in Colombia the curve has not yet managed to flatten. Currently, according to a Bloomberg analysis with data from John Hopkins University, this country has the worst death toll per capita in the world, with 43.1 per million inhabitants.

It took at least four months for Colombia to report 5 thousand cases in one day, and since then, in a month it has gone from 5 thousand to more than 10 thousand per day. This increase shows the critical moment that the country has been going through in recent weeks. Today, Colombia has 477 thousand confirmed cases and 15.372 deaths.

This has had the country's health system on the brink of collapse, with the main cities, Bogotá and Medellín, with an orange alert and with some of their hospitals on the edge. In response, the country has entered several strict and preventive quarantines in its main cities, which has made it impossible to return to normality, with the economy being the main affected.

In the case of the capital, it will last around two months (which began in July) in quarantines focused by localities, a measure that the mayor has already ruled that it will not continue to happen and that it works as a "relief" while the city prepares the reactivation plan which will take place from September to December. For its part, Medellín has managed to flatten the number of infections and prevent its health system from collapsing, but the city will last several weeks in that state, so it is important to focus on preventing it from increasing before it begins to decrease.

However, the multiple quarantines have led Colombia to be the country in the world with the longest quarantine, since since the end of March it has not had a normal week and its inhabitants have had more restrictions than freedoms . The result of these endless confinements has been that thousands of people have started to take to the streets, even with the quarantines imposed because, according to a Colombian epidemiologist interviewed by Bloomberg, fatigue makes people go out to the streets and that has increased the transmission.

Due to the economic crisis facing the country, unemployment has increased substantially, reaching a historical figure of 21.4 percent in May. “It is proven that the most effective balanced health care and employment strategy is to resume activities safely. One of the hardest consequences is unemployment ”, said at the time the president of Andi, Bruce Mac Master. Small and medium-sized companies, as well as the restaurant and gastrobar sector, have requested the authorities to start with biosafety protocols that allow their opening.

Also read: Analysis of the historical arrest of former Colombian President Álvaro Uribe

In response to the Bloomberg article and other analyzes that have appeared in other media, the Colombian government stated that it was "misinforming itself." The Minister of Health, Fernando Ruiz, said during a debate in the House of Representatives: “We here face both the pandemic and disinformation, in the face of even false news that speak that the level of Colombia is one of the highest in the world but Without considering the size of the Colombian population or the news that Colombia's RT (effective reproduction number) is the highest in the world, they are news that really do not contribute, ”criticized the official.

Beyond the possible analyzes and readings that can be made to the curve and the contagions in the country, other countries are already taking measures against Colombia, which has meant the prohibition of travelers from this country or alerts to travel to it .

The first to do so was the United States, which 10 days ago published a list of countries to which it recommended its citizens not to go. Among them was Colombia with the highest alert, both for infections and for violence, crime and terrorism.

Days later, the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, announced that this country would prohibit the entry of people from Colombia. This is to prevent possible arrivals of infected people and avoid a new outbreak from there. The Italian government has previously prohibited entry to those from other countries such as Kosovo, Serbia, Montenegro, Bosnia, North Macedonia and Moldova and others who have to fulfill preventive isolations. In this new announcement, Italy also included other countries in the region such as Chile, Peru, Brazil, among others.

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