Colombias capital Bogota and the countrys second largest city, Medellin, will reinstate partial lockdowns as COVID-19 is threatening to collapse healthcare.
In Bogota, Mayor Claudia Lopez said Saturday that she will reinstate a rotating lockdown starting Monday in the hope that a reduction of people in the street will prevent a collapse of the capitals healthcare system.
The mayor said she will maintain this partial lockdown until after the projected peak in Bogota has passed at the end of August. Residents in areas under lockdown will not be allowed to go to work.
Lopez said she would guarantee a universal basic income and food distribution in the locked down parts of the city.
Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero said Saturday he will lock down the center of the city and change the so-called pico y cedula system that allows people to go outside based on the last number of their ID card.
Economic activity outside the central 10th District will continue after Monday until further order, according to the mayor.
Both cities have seen alarming increases in COVID-19 infections after the government of President Ivan Duque gradually began reopening the country, spurring an acceleration of the the pandemics spread.
While the hospitals in Colombias third largest city, Cali, are close to collapsing, Mayor Jorge Ivan Ospina ruled out a second lockdown in his city.
His health secretary, Carlos Rojas, said the city hall may impose similar measures as in Bogota and Medellin if necessary.
The reversal of the relaxations of a lockdown that was initially called on March 25 is a setback for Duque who has been trying to reactivate the economy since late April.
The lockdown and the relaxations have increased tensions with Congress that wants the president to implement a universal basic income to prevent widespread hunger.
Colombias largest healthcare organizations have said to have no confidence in Health Minister Fernando Ruiz for failing to provide personal protection equipment to hospital personnel.
The National Health Institute (INS) reported 6,803 infections and 211 deaths on Saturday, the highest numbers since the first infection was confirmed in March.
While the pandemic is projected to reach its peak in Bogota in late August, in other parts of Colombia the peak is expected in September, according to INS director Martha Ospina.
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