Colombia’s main medical organizations urged to immediately implement a temporary basic income in Bogota to prevent mass deaths as a consequence of the coronavirus pandemic.
In an open letter, the 14 medical organizations urged President Ivan Duque and Mayor Claudia Lopez to implement an emergency basic income “to stop the spread of the virus and reduce the risk of mortality, as well as territorial management of the COVID-19 pandemic.”
Lopez quarantined much of the impoverished south of Bogota on Monday after Duque’s attempts to reactivate the economy began threatening to collapse the capital’s healthcare system.
The medical organizations sent both public executives a 12-page policy proposal to prevent a collapse of healthcare in Bogota, and mass deaths either caused by COVID-19 or starvation.
Without access to food, the medical organizations, said, Lopez’ lockdown won’t prevent an “imminent” collapse of the healthcare system in Bogota.
The number of infected persons and deaths plus ICU bed occupancy exceeding 87% is a warning of the risk of imminent system collapse. Strict quarantine could sufficiently decrease the rate of infection and continue to make localized adjustments to the system and prepare the necessary talent… To make strict quarantine and social isolation possible and equitable, the proposal states, a real and effective basic income social policy is required, with a guarantee of food and basic public services, aimed at the poorest population.
The biggest bottleneck is that Bogota, as well as the rest of the country, doesn’t have the personnel to manage intensive care units (ICU’s) necessary to save lives of the most critical patients infected by COVID-19, said the medical organizations.
Organizations urging immediate basic income in Bogota
- Colombian Association of Scientific Societies
- Colombian Medical Federation
- Colombian Medical College
- Colombian Association of Critical Medicine and Intensive Care
- Colombian Association of Medical Unions
- National Association of Internists and Residents
- Colombian Medical Student Association
- Valle del Cauca Medical Association
- Bogota Medical College
- Colombian Association of Hematology and Oncology
- Foundation for the Investigation and Development of Healthcare
- Colombian Federation of Medical Unions
- Bogota and Cundinamarca Anesthesiologists Union
Apart from a temporary basic income for the duration of the lockdown, the medical organization also urged to step up the number of daily tests for COVID-19 and the processing speed of testing.
While Colombia’s health authorities have dramatically stepped up their capacity to test for the virus, the current 25,000 daily tests are only half of what is necessary to respond to the virus, according to the director of the Colombian Medical Federation, Sergio Isaza.
According to newspaper El Tiempo, laboratories on average need 10 days to return test results, making available data unreliable.
Bogota’s mayor said Monday that one in three people in Colombia’s capital currently test positive, adding the “contagion speed is enormous”, indicating that the registered COVID-19 don’t even come close to the real number of infections.
Almost one in three of Colombia’s coronavirus infections were confirmed in Bogota, a city a seven million, which so far confirmed 1,123 COVID-19 related deaths.
The capital expects the virus to peak in August.