Colombia lifts indoor face mask mandate and ends COVID tracing

EFE/Mauricio Dueñas Castañeda

Twenty-six months after the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic in Colombia, and that resulted in 149,797 deaths and 6,092.667 infections, the Ministry of Health has lifted the last remaining health mandate for citizens residing in towns and cities where completed vaccination schemes amount to 70% or more.

As of May 1, face masks are no longer required indoors, nor presentation of a vaccination certificate, to enter restaurants, bars, supermarkets, malls, cinemas, museums and sporting venues. The only exceptions for the face mask mandate remain for nursing homes, health facilities and hospitals, public transport and closed spaces within schools.  “All biosafety measures have been repealed, except those that impact health systems and services,” said President Duque in a statement from Casa de Nariño.

President Duque also highlighted that the state’s Testing, Tracking and Sustainable Selective Isolation (PRASS) strategy, implemented back in March, 2020, with the so-called CoronAPP, will also be discontinued. The end of health restrictions comes as the country starts the month of May with 2,322 active cases, and daily cases in new infections averaging near 200. On Saturday, health authorities confirmed four fatalities from the virus, two victims in Bogotá, one in Antioquia, and one in Santa Marta.

According to the Ministry of Health, 525 municipalities in Colombia have reached the 70% threshold to have the face mask mandate eliminated for indoors, including departmental capitals Armenia, Manizales, San Andrés, Tunja and Bogotá.

On May 1, date celebrated in many countries as International Worker’s Day, Colombia administered 80,127 COVID-19 doses, raising the national total of vaccines administered to 82,845.381 – or 70.8% of the population with fully completed schemes. Close to 12 million residents have also received a first booster shot, and 17,161 a second booster.