The U.S Department of State upheld its Level 4 travel alert for Colombia adding to the risk of coronavirus infection for travelers, “continuing demonstrations, civil unrest, and disruptions throughout the country” generated by the general strike.
The update warns nationals that the on-going nationwide Paro Nacional “can cause the shutdown of local roads and major highways, often without prior notice or estimated reopening timelines. Road closures may significantly reduce access to public transportation and airports and may disrupt travel both within and between cities.” The advisory also highlights that “several cities have seen vandalism, looting, and destruction. Demonstrations have resulted in fatalities and injuries across the country. ”
The update also advises U.S citizens to avoid protest areas and crowds; monitor local media for breaking events and adjust your plans based on new information; keep a low profile; be aware of your surroundings.”
The most recent update comes as Colombia continues to grapple with the third wave of coronavirus infections, with Bogotá the epicenter of new cases and anti-government demonstrations. On Wednesday, the capital registered 4,664 additional cases of the national total 16,579. The country’s per day mortality rate, however, has diminished slightly from highs above 500 to 452 additional fatalities on Wednesday. And while anti-government protests continue in Bogotá, ICU occupation for COVID-19 patients stands at 95% – or 102 beds available in public and private hospitals.
The State Department’s missive comes as Colombia announced on Wednesday the reopening of all land, maritime and air borders with Ecuador, Peru, Brazil and Panama. The borders were closed with the outbreak of the pandemic in March 2020. The reopening was justified as part of the government’s economic reactivation agenda, but excludes Venezuela until at least June 1.