Colombia declared a national state of emergency to combat the threat of
the swine flu that killed some 150 people in Mexico and infected
several in the United States. There have been no confirmed cases of the
virus in Colombia so far, but through the state of emergency Bogotá
hopes to have all the means necessary to prevent an outbreak.
The measure was announced Monday afternoon by Social Welfare Minister Diego Palacio, who said that the measure allows the government to have a budget “to try to contain and mitigate the impact that this emergency could generate in the country”.
The government has earmarked 15 billion pesos (US$6.4 million) to start an information campaign and to purchase supplies to fight a possible outbreak of the disease.
Earlier Wednesday, capital Bogotá declared a yellow alert to have more hospital staff on stand by and be able to more thoroughly check travelers coming from Mexico.
The Red Cross announced to have 35,000 volunteers ready in all the country’s 32 departments in case the flu hits Colombia.
So far, eleven people have symptoms that could be of the swine flu, but this can not be confirmed until in a few days.
The peso dropped more than 2 percent Monday amid fears the crisis will affect the country’s tourism and export throughout Latin America.