The protests that have engulfed Bogotá over police brutality and which claimed 13 lives in violent confrontations sidetracked public attention away from the coronavirus pandemic as Colombia witnesses a sharp decline in new daily infections.
After weeks in which the country was registering cases between 8,000 and 12,000 per-day, on Monday, the Ministry of Health confirmed 5,573 cases putting the new national total to 721,892. But in as much as coronavirus continues to spread, the number of “active cases” has almost halved since June, with 606,925 patients recovered.
Even though Colombia remains in a sixth-place ranking – according to Johns Hopkins University – among the 10 countries in the world with most COVID-19 cases, the 90,319 “active cases” reveal a marked deceleration of the pandemic as health authorities continue to enact trace-and-isolate measures.
More than two weeks after the National Health Emergency was lifted nationwide and rotating lockdowns ended in Bogotá, the capital since the outbreak on March 6 reported an additional 1,720 cases raising the new total to 242,007 – or 33% of the national total.
This number has remained almost constant since May when other large cities, including Barranquilla, Cartagena and Medellín, saw sharp increases in their day-on-day infections. With Bogotá’s ICU occupancy topping 93% late July – on Monday – this number stood at 57%.
As the capital’s healthcare system gets much-needed relief from over-crowded hospitals and frontline workers who during months have remained committed to treating the critically-ill, Bogotá now hovers just a few percentage points above the Yellow Alert threshold of 50%.
Yellow Alert was declared by Mayor Claudia López on March 12 and same week the first case was confirmed in the capital. The Yellow Alert declaration was accompanied by a strict “quarantine drill” when per-day cases averaged close to 200.
The national death toll stands at 23,123 including the additional 22 victims on Monday.