Mayor Claudia López issued a stern warning on Saturday that unless the district receives from the national government 200 respirators by July 1, the city’s nine million inhabitants could be placed under the strict quarantine.
The announcement from Palacio Lieváno comes as intensive care occupancy reached 69.9 percent, even after 125 additional ICUs were handed-over a week ago. Given that 637 COVID-19 patients are receiving treatment of 911 available units, López confirmed that “all deaths occurred inside hospitals after receiving all the necessary care by healthcare professionals.”
According to López, ICU occupancy will reach 75% next week, or 681 units used. Presenting a timeline for delivery of 1,141 units between July 1 and August 16, month in which López claims Bogotá will peak in infections, the Mayor recognized the challenges faced by the government of President Iván Duque in purchasing ICUs in the highly competitive international market.
Mayor López thanked Bogotanos on repeated occasions for their patience during a quarantine that began March 25 and will extend to July 15, stating also that 92% of the population wears facemasks, but the health accessory “can’t do miracles,” in reducing the acceleration of the virus. Bogotá as of Saturday has 27,118 cases of coronavirus including the day’s additional 1576 – highest recorded increased since the outbreak. More than 600 deaths have also been confirmed in the capital.
All measures currently in place to restrict the movement of residents, among them Pico y Cédula will remain in place, and five neighborhoods in localities of Bosa, Kennedy and Ciudad Bolívar will continue under strict lockdown until July 14. López affirmed that the gradual reopening of the economy caused the surge in infections, but that “residents are not to blame.” With 5 million taking to the capital’s streets every day while 1,5 million are respecting self-isolation, López added that the additional 125 respirators that were handed over to district “are all being used,” and to meet the demand for units, Bogotá will require 2,000 ICUs.
The locality of Kennedy, home to more than 1 million residents, is the worst affected in the capital, with almost 6,000 cases of COVID-19, or one out of every four confirmed cases in Bogotá. According to the district’s Health Secretariat, 140 inhabitants of Kennedy have died from the disease. “Even if we assume the most conservative trend, avoiding the irreversible entry to Red Alert […] average ICU occupancy will be 75% over the course of the next eight weeks,” said López. “We must be prepared to return to a strict quarantine.”
Mayor López has sent a letter to the Minister of Health Fernando Ruíz requesting the enactment by the Presidency of strict quarantine as of July 1 for Bogotá, and all Colombia. The decision to place Bogotá under strict quarantine rests with President Duque. López also requested Minister of Interior Alicia Arango to allow only online purchases during the next Tax-Free Day scheduled for July 3, referring to the inaugural event on June 19 as “COVID Friday.”