Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Officials in Colombia extend nationwide lockdown through at least April 26 to curb the spread of COVID-19. Further restrictions in place.

This alert affects Colombia

This alert began 07 Apr 2020 13:15 GMT and is scheduled to expire 27 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 26
  • Impact: Travel and movement restrictions, significant transport and business disruptions

Summary
Officials in Colombia have extended a nationwide lockdown through at least 2359 April 26 as part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The order stipulates that residents must remain inside their homes except to perform essential tasks, such as obtaining basic goods, attending to a medical issue, or caring for a person in need. Only one person per household may leave the residence to perform those tasks. People can also leave their home to go to work at an essential business or service, which include grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, as well as security, manufacturing, transport, and media companies. Other companies can operate only with their employees working from home. Authorities also extended the closure of schools until at least May 30 and the lockdown orders for people 70 years and older until May 31.

An order to ban all entries from air travel remains in place until at least April 23. The ban includes Colombian citizens abroad, but it exempts cargo shipments, as well as flights for humanitarian purposes. Internal passenger flights in Colombia have been banned until at least April 26. Officials have also maintained the closure of all ground and maritime borders until at least May 30, except for trucks and vessels providing cargo shipments and humanitarian aid.

Authorities may take additional measures in the coming days, especially if the spread of COVID-19 continues. The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country, with larger than usual police presence in the streets. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by the Colombian government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

Advice
Strictly heed the instructions of authorities. Avoid all nonessential operations in the areas impacted by the measures. Confirm appointments. Remain courteous and cooperative if approached and questioned by law enforcement officers.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Presidency of Colombia: https://id.presidencia.gov.co

Presidency of Colombia - Original Lockdown Order: https://dapre.presidencia.gov.co

Presidency of Colombia - Air Travel Ban: https://dapre.presidencia.gov.co