As the Colombian capital finished the first day of a “quarantine simulation” that began at midnight and initiative to protect residents against the coronavirus, President Iván Duque addressed the nation on Friday evening announcing heightened measures with the State of Emergency to enact a 19-day quarantine starting at 11:59 pm on Tuesday, March 24 until April 13.

The restrictive measure severely impacts the lives of 48 million Colombians. As the nations halts all international air traffic and operations as of midnight Saturday, the nationwide quarantine aims to flatten the curve of the expansion of COVID-19 among the population.

Accompanied by medical experts and representatives of the healthcare sector, Duque claimed the quarantine is a decision based on “health and for life,” adding that it was “paused and structured decision, taken hand-in-hand with experts, to protect the most vulnerable,” said the head of state.

The president’s announcement came at the request of health organizations to toughen measures to mitigate coronavirus present in 19 of the country’s 32 departments.

On Friday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 158 cases in the country.

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