The mayoralty of Claudia López announced Wednesday evening that Bogotá is under a “Yellow Alert” to contain the spread of coronavirus, calling on residents to follow the recommendations of health authorities. Under the decree, all citizens must take self-protection measures by washing hands with soap every three hours and avoid all direct contact with others.
The decree also instructs Bogotanos to avoid all public gatherings and postpone events, including concerts, congresses, fairs. Even though these recommendations apply for venues with more than 1,000 attendees, the decree also asks the country’s business, labor and commercial associations to enact work from home schedules for all employees, that will allow the district “to reduce the concentration of people within the mass transportation system during peak hours, mitigating the risk of infection,” assured Mayor López.
The mayoralty also announced that all TransMilenio stations and buses will be washed and disinfected on a daily basis and temporary hydration points will be installed for commuters.
All public schools and commercial establishments must be responsible for washing and disinfecting their common areas every day.
The Yellow Alert also pools together the public and private health system of healthcare providers to organize home care teams in all of the capital’s localities and carry out epidemiological detection and prevention.
“We will not follow the logic of individual, public or private insurance, but work together,” remarked López. The Ministry of Health and the four health sub-secretariats of Bogotá will organize home delivery of medications so that patients with chronic diseases are prevented from having to go to hospitals to collect them. Public and private health service providers will make joint purchases of face masks, gel, alcohol and other supplies to avoid shortages and guarantee their adequate distribution.
With the announcement by Mayor López, cultural, business and sporting events are being canceled, including one of the largest literary gatherings in Latin America, the International Book Fair of Bogotá (FILBO) programmed to take place in the capital from April 21 to May 5.
The Bogotá Philharmonic Orchestra (OFB) will continue to perform but with no audience, transmitting concerts via live streaming.
The 8th edition of the Spanish Film Festival – Muestra de Cine Español– at Cinemateca de Bogotá has been canceled. All screenings will now be online.
The Teatro Colón, home to the National Symphony Orchestras (OSNC), will cancel its Travesía Sinfónica series scheduled for March 14 and 15.
The 2020 edition of the rock festival Estéreo Picnic which was to take place on the outskirts of Bogotá from April 3 to 5 has also been canceled. The reggae Jamming Festival (March 21-22) in Ricuarte, Cundinamarca, will be rescheduled for dates in the middle of November.
All concerts that were going to take place at Movistar Arena in Bogotá, including performances by recording artists, Juanes, Alejandro Sanz and Maroon 5, have also been postponed.
The same applies to all sporting events in the country until May 30, announced Minister of Sports Ernesto Lucena.
The Yellow Alert for Bogotá came on the same day the World Health Organization declared COVID-19 a pandemic with more than 120,000 confirmed cases worldwide and which has caused more than 4,200 deaths.
The Colombian government also announced a series of tough migratory controls for all nationals and foreigners entering the country, which include filling out a mandatory form with information regarding countries visited, state of health and where they can be reached in case of quarantine or self-isolation orders. Foreigners who do not abide by the measures will be barred from entry.
Travelers who have visited “high risk” nations Italy, France, Spain and China will under-go medical screening inside airports and all overland border points, as well as agree to two-week self-isolation. The heightened migratory controls will affect an estimated 24,000 visitors every day.
Colombia has 9 confirmed cases of COVID-19.