Healthcare in Colombia’s capital Bogota collapses, Cali issues red alert over COVID-19

Healthcare in Colombia’s capital Bogota collapsed on Wednesday, according to medical organizations, as the country’s third largest city, Cali, issued a red alert over the COVID-19 pandemic.

“It happened. The healthcare system collapsed,” said the National Association of Internists and Residents (ANIR).

According to the ANIR, the saturation of the capital’s intensive care units left 149 people critically ill without the necessary care weeks before the projected peak of the pandemic in Bogota.

The ANIR, the Colombian Medical Federation and the Bogota Medical College met with Mayor Claudia Lopez to urge an immediate lockdown to prevent unnecessary deaths.

It’s a matter of life and death: total quarantine in Bogota. We do not comply with the training and qualification of healthcare personnel for critical patient management.

ANIR

Lopez said the medical organizations “rightfully insist on a total lockdown,” which she vowed to discuss when meeting Tuesday with Health Minister Fernando Ruiz, who must authorize such a measure.

Ruiz and President Ivan Duque have so far resisted a return to lockdowns as this would end their attempts to reactivate the country’s economy.

In his daily COVID show on Facebook, Duque ignored the healthcare collapse in Bogota, but announced he would suspend a tax-free sales day he had planned for Sunday.

Cali’s partial shutdown

Cali Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina announced the lockdown of five of his city’s 21 districts to prevent a collapse of hospitals that reportedly are at 87% of their capacity.

While declaring a red alert, Ospina announced that the partial lockdown will take effect on Friday and last until the end of July.

Bogota began a rotating lockdown of districts on Monday, which failed after 48 hours.

Medellin locked down its city center on Monday and is trying to convince Ruiz to allow the city to shut down for four days a week until after the expected peak of the pandemic in September.

According to Bogota’s mayor, she will try to reestablish contact between the health minister and the healthcare organizations, who said they have no confidence in Ruiz back in April.

Ahead of Bogota, healthcare in the traditionally neglected Amazon and Pacific regions of the country collapsed while hospitals along the Caribbean coast are on the brink of collapse.

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