COVID third peak: 8pm curfew will begin in Bogotá tomorrow

By Freek Huigen April 19, 2021

As emergency room occupation hits highest levels yet, Bogotá is introducing an 8pm curfew.

April 26: Read our latest story to find out the new measures in place until May 9

Queues will stay empty in the weekend.

Starting tomorrow until the beginning of May, you’ll need to be home by 8pm in Bogotá — and the city’s Friday to Sunday lockdown will continue. 

Mayor Claudia López told reporters today that we’re at the highest level of ICU (emergency room) occupation since the start of the pandemic. Her concern is fourfold:

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  • Hospitals in Antioquia are close to 100% capacity.
  • Yesterday saw the biggest ever daily jump in ICU occupation (80% to 84%)
  • Unlike previous peaks, where authorities were able to delay non urgent operations, this time people with other illnesses also need beds. “We have a double pressure right now,” said López. “Very high COVID ICU and very high non-COVID ICU.”
  • Finally, authorities believe we’re still two weeks away from the peak.

The situation in Antioquia has reached critical levels. ICU is close to 100% and doctors are having to decide which patients to admit to hospital. Unsurprisingly, López is keen to avoid this scenario in the capital.

One health worker in Bogotá told us: “Hospitals no longer supply enough, health personnel are exhausted, little by little we can see the physical and emotional wear and tear.”

They continued. “As health workers we are tired and we understand that many people no longer want to stay at home. Unfortunately the corruption in this country has almost all of us in increasing poverty: we need to eat, pay rent, healthcare, pensions, etc. For that reason, many people decide to go out into the streets. There is no longer fear of the coronavirus, there are needs.”

Check out our story if you’re wondering how Colombia’s vaccination is going.

What does this mean in terms of COVID restrictions?

Bogotá will continue its existing four-three model, meaning people can go to work Monday to Thursday and the city will shut down from Friday to Saturday. On top of which, the capital is following government guidelines and introducing an 8pm nightly curfew. It will be in place until May 3.

And Pico y Cédula will be in place for the foreseeable future. Though, contrary to initial rumours today, it will not be applied to public transport.

All this will be reviewed again next Monday, unless the ICU occupation goes above 90%. In that case, we can expect an immediate stricter lockdown.

López said she understood the measures would hurt from an economic perspective, but that authorities are trying to deal with it as best they can. “We’re trying to manage the two sides,” she said. “Health and pocket.”