BUCARAMANGA, Colombia (AP) – President Iván Duque announced Wednesday that exceptional measures to contain COVID-19 in Colombia will be extended until February 28 due to the increase in cases after the Christmas holidays.
The government expanded the health emergency and “selective isolation with responsible individual distancing,” as it has called the strategy that urges citizens to comply with biosafety protocols and restrictions ordered by each department.
Public or private activities that involve crowds will continue to be prohibited. In addition, local leaders must request authorization from the national government to increase restrictions according to the level of COVID-19 affectation they present.
The president clarified that occupation in intensive care units will be taken as a reference point to increase restrictions on mobility and health measures.
“When we have high levels of positivity and ICU occupancy, measures such as restriction of mobility with the ‘pico y cédula’ or the sale of liquor can be taken. When we are at very high ICU occupancy levels above 85 and 90%, more restrictive decisions are made, ”Duque said on Wednesday on his television program on the pandemic.
The measure called “pico y cédula” restricts the movements of citizens according to the last number of their identity card and the day of the week.
The occupancy of ICUs in Bogotá reached 91% on Wednesday, according to official figures. Mayor Claudia López reported Tuesday that the city will have a total quarantine from January 15 at 8 p.m. to January 18 at 4 a.m. In addition, the capital will continue with some of its localities in strict quarantine in an attempt to contain the increase in infections.
The government is getting ready to launch a vaccination campaign with which it is planned to immunize 35 million Colombians, of the 50 million that make up its population. The authorities have not confirmed when exactly it will start, although they have indicated that it will be in the first half of 2021.
Colombia registers 1,831,980 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 47,124 deaths, the Ministry of Health reported on Wednesday.