As the coronavirus pandemic nears levels of infection not seen in Colombia since March 2020 when the first cases of the original strain were documented in the country, Health Minister Fernando Ruíz confirmed Thursday that the government is studying the option to eliminate the obligatory proof of a vaccination card for persons entering closed indoor spaces, such as restaurants and bars.
The head of the health portfolio also said that the government may not prolong the national health emergency, decreed back in March 2020 and in effect until the end of April. The announcement that the government may lift the last remaining condition for unvaccinated – or partially vaccinated travelers – entering Colombia by eliminating the PCR test, comes as the country’s active cases of COVID-19 have stabilized near 3,700.
On Thursday, Colombia added 312 new cases, putting the national total at 6,078.123. The country also registered 6 deaths from the virus, and lowest per-day count since 7 fatalities occurred on April 4, 2020.
Bogotá, Antioquia and Santander account for most per-day infections.
The sharp deceleration in per-day infections and deaths is being accompanied by the National Vaccination Plan that has administered at least one anti-COVID-19 dose to 82% of the country’s 50.1 million population, and 68.4% have completed a double-dose vaccine scheme. Ruíz highlighted that between those who have received one, and two-dose schemes, as well as recovered patients (5,920.229) with anti-bodies and COVID-19 dose, the country has reached high-levels of immunity among 95% of the population.
Despite the government lifting the face mask mandate outdoors for residents in towns and cities that have administered at least 70% of their allocated vaccines, the majority of Colombians continue to wear the ubiquitous face mask on the street. “I just feel that much safer, plus it keeps my face warm against the Bogotá cold,” remarked journalist Paulina Diazgranados from behind a striking pink N-95. “I believe Latin Americans have a deep sense of self-preservation.”