Colombia extends COVID restrictions as intensive care admissions rise amid surging infections

Colombia will extend coronavirus restrictions in various cities across the country, President Ivan Duque has announced, as intensive care unit admissions have increased amid a surge in infections.

Duque on social media said the restrictions would vary based on ICU occupancy rates.

The curfews will be in place from Monday and continue through April 19, he said.

“It’s clear that … some municipalities have shown increases in recent weeks and there also exists the risk of a new national increase in the coming weeks,” Duque said. “We must act, prevent and take appropriate decisions.”

Colombia had already repeatedly warned people not lower their guard during the Easter holiday and put in place weekend curfews.

The country has reported more than 2.4 million cases of COVID-19 and more than 63,900 deaths, according to a Johns Hopkins University tally.

Colombian cities with an ICU occupancy above 85 percent will have a curfew from 6pm through 5am local time, while those at between 80-85 percent capacity will have curfews beginning at 8pm.

Curfews will start at 10pm in cities with 70-79 percent occupancy, while those between 50-69 percent will be restricted from midnight until 5am.

Bogota, the country’s capital, had ICU occupancy rates of 65.5 percent as of Saturday evening, while coastal cities including Barranquilla were at about 90 percent.

Duque also said Bogota and several other Colombian cities were under observation due to rising infections and deaths.

Several countries across Latin America have seen a rise in COVID-19 infections, deaths and hospitalisations in recent weeks, while many also are struggling to secure vaccines to inoculate their populations.