If it’s a trend, Colombia is getting some much-needed respite from a pandemic that has claimed 56,290 lives and infected more than 2.1 million citizens and a week before the national government embarks on a mass vaccination campaign. On Monday, Colombia registered its lowest per-day increase in new coronavirus cases –  4,246 –  since July 7, 2020.

Three weeks ago, Colombia was averaging 20,000 per day cases as the second wave was peaking, yet the steep downturn has been staggering given that Bogotá, at the epicenter of the coronavirus pandemic, also registered less than 1,000 new cases on Monday – numbers not witnessed in the capital since the mid-June.

New cases come as ICU occupation dropped to 72% or 1,392 COVID-19 patients being treated in the capital’s 1,909 total units.

Monday’s numbers come after the National Institute of Health (INS) confirmed 6,009 new cases on Sunday and 8,547 on Saturday. While the recent deceleration of the virus is encouraging, the country has also witnessed an important increase in recoveries, with “active cases” at 64,690. Those who have recovered from the virus now surpass 2 million.

While a week of lowering infections may signal a positive turn of events for a nation that for the most part of the 11-month long pandemic was ranked among the top 10 nations with most cases – and also endured one of the world’s longest quarantines (157 days) – health authorities remain cautious given that the highly infectious Brazilian variant of COVID-19 has been confirmed to be circulating in Bogotá and a third wave expected late March should Colombians relax on health measures during the Easter holidays.