Colombia brings back lockdowns as coronavirus cases rise

As the holiday season winds down, Colombia is experiencing a sharp rise in coronavirus infections that has prompted several cities to impose curfews and stay at home measures that had not been implemented for months.

In the capital city of Bogota, the local government locked down three districts that have a population of about 2.5 million people, ordering all businesses except for supermarkets and pharmacies in that part of the city to close.

In Medellin, Colombias second-largest city, authorities announced a curfew that will last from 10 5 a.m. every day until next week. Night-time curfews have also been adopted in the city of Cali and in some towns along Colombias Caribbean coast where thousands of tourists are still spending their holidays.

Officials said the measures are being taken to control a growing number of infections and stabilize hospitalization rates.

Colombia was reporting around 8,000 new coronavirus infections per day at the end of November, but transmission appears to have risen in December as people traveled for the holidays, met with their families, and in some cases, held mass gatherings and dance parties, despite a government ban on such activities.

Over the past week, the South American country has been reporting more than 11,000 infections per day, while in some cities ICU wards for coronavirus patients have reached 90% occupancy rates.

In Bogota, 23 hospitals out of 60 reported on Monday that their ICU wards were fully occupied. On Tuesday, officials said that they were locking down part of the city to prevent hospitals from overflowing.

In the following days we will have 1.3 million people returning from vacation, Luis Ernesto Gomez, the citys acting mayor, said on Tuesday. Mayor Claudia Lopez is currently on vacation. That will put pressure on our hospitals and increase interactions and contagion,” Gomez said.

(Except for the headline, this story has not been edited by The Federal staff and is auto-published from a syndicated feed.)

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