Mayors and governors throughout Colombia are concerned over a possible second surge in COVID-19 infections during the holiday season.
Contrary to the United States and Europe, Colombia has been spared a second surge of the coronavirus after a peak in September.
The country’s aviation authorities have been struggling to resume international air travel, which has allowed health authorities keeping the pandemic under control with relatively mild measures.
Both national and local authorities have expressed concern about the holidays, however, as Christmas celebrations traditionally consist of a month of social activities that could trigger outbreaks.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz urged caution on Monday during his appearance on President Ivan Duque‘s daily propaganda broadcast.
The way we behave during the Christmas and New Year’s Eve festivities will be decisive in maintaining the economic revival of all sectors.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz
Lopez echoed Ruiz’s calls for caution and invited resident of Bogota to go into a two-week quarantine if they want to visit their family members on Christmas Eve or New Year’s Eve.
Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero was considerably more concerned about the situation in his city and warned he may have to issue a curfew on Christmas Eve and New Year’s Eve if rising infections threaten to collapse the healthcare system of Colombia’s second largest city.
Governor Anibal Gaviria said that a curfew between midnight and 6AM would be in place in half of Antioquia, including Medellin, until the 20th to prevent an outbreak.
All major cities canceled mass events like concerts that historically are part of the festivities.
National and most local authorities are hesitant to impose a new lockdown that would be difficult to impose after the arrival of the virus in March was followed by severe restrictions on movement that lasted for months.
Only in Cucuta, a city on the border with Venezuela, the mayor announced a curfew for an indefinite period of time after a sudden surge in hospitalizations threaten to collapse the municipal healthcare system.
Also in the nearby city of Bucaramanga a curfew is in place in an attempt to prevent a saturation of hospitals.