President Duque announces that construction and manufacturing sectors will be able to return to work after April 27.
In a much-anticipated speech, President Iván Duque has announced that the national lockdown in Colombia would be extended by another two weeks. The country, which has been in obligatory quarantine since March 25, is being told to continue to stay at home until May 11.
The rules, however, will be slightly relaxed.
After April 27, manufacturing and construction sectors will be allowed to restart, along with the public transport systems necessary to get people to work. We’re unlikely to see crowded building sites from our windows as there will be heavy controls on how these businesses can function.
For starters, the idea is to keep public transport at a 35% occupancy. Cycling is being encouraged and, in Bogotá at least, bike shops are joining the list of essential services that are exempt from the lockdown.
The idea is to attempt to reduce – at least slightly – the massive unemployment figures and economic impact of COVID-19. Vice President, Marta Lucía Ramírez told Portafolio that 77% of the country’s workers have had to suspend their activities to some degree during the crisis.
Recognising the importance of mental and physical health, Duque said that exercise will be allowed – which will be a relief to many. We’ll need to wait and see whether or not local authorities impose additional controls.
Bars, restaurants and clubs will obviously stay shut for the time being, as will schools and universities. The only international flights arriving or taking off until the end of May will be cargo and humanitarian ones, but be aware these measures could be extended even further.
National flights will remain grounded until the end of the health emergency and travel between departments will continue to be heavily restricted.
In the absence of a vaccine, the president warned that coronavirus restrictions could continue for 12-18 months. But 12 months is a long way away for a situation that is currently being reviewed every two weeks.