The prospect that Bogotá would return to rotating lockdowns was confirmed by Mayor Claudia López on Sunday after three localities witnessed a spike over the holiday season in daily cases of the coronavirus infection. The decision to place Suba, Engativa and Usaquén under strict lockdown for two weeks starting January 5 comes as the Colombian capital has doubled its daily average of 2,400 cases registered by the Ministry of Health in November.
The new round of lockdowns, which affect some 2.6 million residents also comes as hospitalizations have surged with the so-called “second wave” and which according to health authorities could extend into mid-February. While the three localities face restrictive mobility, Mayor López announced during a press conference that other localities could be included in the lockdown should their cases also increase.
The spike in infections began at the start of the holiday season with the Noche de Velitas on December 7; and in a move to prevent gatherings during the final long weekend of the holiday season, a city-wide alcohol ban – Ley Seca – goes into effect from Friday, January 8 to Tuesday, January 12. The identity-card restriction – Pico y cédula – has also been extended until the end of the month.
With almost half a million positive cases of COVID-19, and more than 10,000 deaths registered in Bogotá since the outbreak of the pandemic, the city’s ICU occupancy increased to 85% – number not registered by the district since mid-August. This number signifies that of a total 2,250 ICU beds, 1,911 are currently occupied by critically-ill patients. On Tuesday, Bogotá recorded 5,298 additional cases raising the new national total to 1,702,966. Tuesday marked highest single day increase during the last nine months of the pandemic.
The country has 95,015 active cases of the virus and has yet to confirm an outbreak of the variant.
Colombia ranks in 11th place among the world’s nations with the most cases of COVID-19 according to Johns Hopkins and surpassed only in South America by Brazil with 7.7 million cases. The country’s death toll stands at 44,426.