As Colombia begins the first day of a nationwide quarantine, enforced by the state’s security forces, and with measures that restrict all non-health related movement of citizens excepting one member per household to purchase basic necessities in supermarkets and pharmacies, the quarantine act, known in Spanish as Aislamiento Preventivo Obligatorio, is in effect until April 13. A date which could be extended if high levels of COVID-19 infections among the public don’t stabilize or reduce.

On Wednesday, cases of coronavirus in the country reached 470, with Bogotá registering 170 patients with infection.

A fourth death has been confirmed by the Ministry of Health of a 76-year old male in Bogotá.

Humanitarian flights

Boeing 787 Dreamliners belonging to Israel’s state airline El Al will depart from Tel Aviv to repatriate Israeli citizens stranded around the world, including 150 backpackers in Colombia.

According to the Times of Israel, the country’s Foreign Minister Israel Katz told the families of the tourists that “Israel doesn’t abandon its children.” The government of Israel dispatched four planes last week to Lima, Peru, to pick up 1,000 nationals who were trapped after the Latin American country closed its borders.

At El Dorado International Airport in Bogotá, travelers from a host of South and Central American nations remain inside the departure terminal after foreign carriers began canceling flights to the Colombian capital with the declaration of the State of Emergency, followed by the announcement by President Iván Duque that Colombian air space was closing down as of 12:00 am Monday, March 23.

Airlines from Argentina and Chile could operate humanitarian flights to repatriate their citizens with approval from Colombia’s Civil Aviation Authority and immigration entity Migración Colombia.

Colombians trapped in Switzerland as tourists or in transit returned to Bogotá on a humanitarian flight operated by Swiss late Monday night.

The country’s Foreign Ministry, Cancillería, has created a temporary APP called “Cuéntanos Cómo Estás” (“Tell us how you are”) to collect information on the needs of Colombians who are overseas and want to share information as to their situation in the midst of the pandemic. The information collected will be shared with different Colombian consulates abroad for the implementation of assistance strategies.