Colombia refuses to shut down capital despite hospital saturation

Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez (Image: Twitter)

Colombia’s government refused to shut down capital Bogota on Tuesday, against the mayor’s wishes and contradicting medical organizations who have said COVID-19 has saturated the city’s hospitals.

Following a meeting with Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez, the Health Ministry said a second lockdown was not necessary as the capital “shows stability in the figures for confirmed cases, deaths and ICU.”

Health ministry contradicting its own statistics

The ministry’s claim contradicts its own statistics that have shown the daily number of COVID-19 deaths almost doubled over the past two weeks as Bogota is entering the peak of the coronavirus pandemic.


Daily COVID-19 fatalities in Bogota

Source: Health Ministry

Healthcare in Bogota collapsed: medical organizations

According to the Bogota Medical College, the capital’s healthcare system collapsed last week, which makes it unclear how many people are dying of preventable diseases not related to the coronavirus pandemic.

Following the government’s refusal to lock down the city, Lopez met with medical organizations and announced that the rotating lockdowns currently in place will no longer succeed each other, but overlap.

Bogota has been hardest hit by the pandemic, according to the National Health Institute (INS), which reported on Tuesday that it has registered 67,843 infections in the capital so far and 2,249 in the past 24 hours.

Lopez said last week she agreed with medical organizations that a second lockdown of the city was necessary to prevent deaths, but President Ivan Duque apparently is not willing to see his controversial and chaotic economic reactivation plan fall to pieces.

For the first time, the Health Ministry did leave the door open for a second lockdown in Bogota, saying that shutting down the city for the second time since late March is unnecessary “for now.”

Bogota’s mayor, who has fiercely criticized the government’s coronavirus response, appears to have taken a less confrontational stance while her city is entering the deadliest phase of the pandemic.

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