As his government’s response to the coronavirus pandemic began showing serious cracks on Monday, President Ivan Duque asked the Virgin Mary to protect Colombia.
In a speech, Duque said he asked the patron saint of Colombia to protect the country as citizens began reporting serious failures in the country’s fragile healthcare system.
In my office I have a picture of the Virgin of Chiquinquira, the patron saint of Colombia. This morning I woke up asking this patron of Colombia to protect us as a society, to protect our families, our children, our siblings and our grandparents.
President Ivan Duque
The unpopular president was ridiculed on Twitter immediately for asking spiritual protection instead of securing an adequate state response to the growing number of coronavirus reports.
May the Virgin of Chiquinquira help us because the good-for-nothing narcopresident we have is unable.
Had we known we would’ve voted for the Virgin of Chiquinquira directly instead of this clown.
Response system failing
After the first reports of coronavirus in the country, Duque said “Colombia has great experience to deal with epidemics like this,” but a Medellin resident who said she showed symptoms of the virus told Colombia Reports that “I’m certain the system has collapsed.
According to the Medellin resident, who preferred to stay anonymous, she had no choice but to go to her healthcare provider after she called the designated emergency number seven times since Thursday, but was never called back as promised.
A Bogota resident said on Twitter that “a friend who arrived from Africa over the weekend has symptoms and thinks it may be the coronavirus. Yesterday, Sunday, she called at 4PM on the 123 line, and was told that she would be called back. A day has passed and they didn’t call her.”
A Cali resident said on Twitter that she called a newly inaugurated emergency line, 192, but repeatedly got disconnected.
Duque dropping the spiky ball?
Health and migration authorities were relatively quick to respond after the first case of coronavirus was confirmed on March 6.
Duque declared a health emergency and restricted incoming travel to Colombian citizens, foreign residents and diplomats on Sunday who must stay in their homes for two weeks.
The authorities, however, appear to lack the capacity to enforce the compulsory isolation and, according to citizens, do not respond to reports of suspected contagion.
Healthcare system already on the brink of collapse
Colombia’s health ministry and media have been at lengths to inform people on how to prevent infection or infect others in an attempt to curb contagion.
Rampant corruption has had Colombia’s healthcare system on the brink of collapse for more than a decade already. An outbreak of coronavirus could trigger a total collapse.
Aware of the state of their healthcare system and the unpopular government’s perceived ineptitude, Colombians have taken healthcare in their own hands and are using social media to promote prevention measures among their friends.
Those who are religious, like Duque, have put their fate in the hands of higher powers rather than the authorities.