Colombia’s President Ivan Duque announced partial lockdowns in cities and regions to prevent COVID-19 outbreaks following this week’s Easter holiday.
Duque’s announcement came hours after the governor of Antioquia said that the country’s second largest economy would impose restricted movements, a curfew and a liquor ban starting Thursday.
Medellin, the capital of Antioquia, is one of the cities where the most recent surge in coronavirus infections raised saturated more than 70% of available intensive care units (ICUs).
The Health Ministry has issued a new decree that triggers emergency measures between Wednesday and Monday in municipalities where the ICU capacity reaches certain thresholds, Duque said.
In cities like Medellin, where less than 30% of ICU’s are available, partial lockdowns will be in place during the day and a full-blown curfew between 10PM and 5AM during the Holy Week.
In municipalities like Bogota, where more than half of ICU’s are occupied, only a curfew between midnight and 5AM will take force.
Fears that the Holy Week holiday could cause a new surge in infections similar adds to concerns over the spread over a more contagious and possibly more dangerous Brazilian COVID-19 strain and difficulties with the National Vaccination Plan.
To prevent the accumulation of vaccines, the health ministry also decreed that provinces with most progress in vaccination would receive more shots.
Regional vaccination progress
Progress in “epidemiological buffer”
The three provinces that border Brazil in the southeast of the country have shown considerable higher vaccination rates than the rest of the country due to efforts to create an “epidemiological buffer” along the border.
In the most southern province, Amazonas, approximately one third of the estimated population has received at least one shot five weeks after the arrival of the first vaccine shipment.
Also the province around Cucuta, the biggest city on the Venezuelan border, has reported major progress.
The Norte de Santander province has been hit hardest by mass migration from the neighboring country that is suffering a humanitarian crisis for more than five years.
Despite the progress in the creation of an epidemiological buffer, the Brazilian strain has been confirmed in the capital Bogota and believed to be spreading throughout Colombia.