In a move that wasn’t expected until September 1, when Bogotá’s El Dorado airport is scheduled to officially reopen after more than five months of closure with the coronavirus pandemic, the country’s civil aviation authority presented the government of President Iván Duque 14 domestic routes ready to resume operations. The destinations with direct flights to Bogotá are Rionegro, Medellín, Cali, Bucaramanga, Barranquilla, Cartagena, Santa Marta, Monteria, Pereira, Cucuta, Pasto, Villavicencio and San Andrés.
During an official ceremony with Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero, President Duque officiated the reopening of Colombia’s second busiest airport José María Córdova, in Rionegro, Antioquia. The airport, which connects Medellín with international gateways also closed with the declaration of the National Health emergency on March 20. “Colombia is taking a step toward reactivation, but with responsibility,” said Duque, adding that one of the most important sectors of the economy is transportation to connect regions distanced by rugged terrain and topography. “There are many families who want to be able to attend to a situation of loved one, return to their place of work – and above all – require connectivity to carry out their activities.”
With the gradual reactivation of airports, Mayor Claudia López tweeted that “the district is in agreement,” and that operations at El Dorado depend on approval from the Ministry of Health based on each city’s epidemiological data. While Bogotá has leveled with new cases, intensive care occupancy has dropped to 84% from 93% in July. López has stated that the city’s hospital capacity “has not and will not collapse.” On Tuesday, the mayoralty presented the pilot scheme for the reopening of restaurants known as A Cielo Abierto (Under Open Skies), and which could expand to include social clubs.
While the focus has been registering the daily tally of coronavirus, Colombia’s death rate lowered for a third consecutive day, with 247 victims on Tuesday: number similar to those reported mid-July. According to Johns Hopkins, the worst recorded day in the country was July 29 with 380 deaths.
The country added 12,462 cases on Tuesday – including 2,374 which could not be processed in time to make Monday’s bulletin. After more than two weeks in which Colombia has added an average of 10,000 cases per day to the official count, the number of recovered patients – 10,798 – surpassed new cases by 710.
Since March, with the outbreak of the pandemic was confirmed in Bogotá, Colombia has confirmed 489,122 cases of which 160,189 remain active. The total number of recovered stands at 312,323.