Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Colombia extends nationwide lockdown through at least May 31, due to COVID-19. International and domestic flights suspended through June 30.

This alert affects Colombia

This alert began 20 May 2020 09:30 GMT and is scheduled to expire 01 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 31
  • Impact: Significant international and internal transport disruptions, business disruptions, increased security

Colombia President Ivan Duque announced a further extension of the existing nationwide lockdown until at least May 31, as part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The measure, which was due to end May 25, 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 homes to work at an essential or authorized business or service, which includes grocery stores, pharmacies, banks, as well as security, transport, and media companies. People over 70 years will be required to continue to self-isolate through June 30.

Previously authorized businesses may continue to operate, provided they follow strict security and sanitation guidelines. Restaurants can operate only for deliveries and pickups. Dine-in services at bars and restaurants, gatherings, nightclubs, sport, and cultural events will remain banned. Schools and universities will remain closed through the end of July.

Some local governments continue to enforce tighter movement restriction measures in addition to the nationwide lockdown. In some cities, residents may leave their homes depending on the last digit of an individual's ID or passport. Notable cities include:

  • Bucaramanga: Mondays 3 and 4; Tuesdays 5 and 6; Wednesdays 7 and 8; Thursdays 9 and 0; and Fridays 1 and 2.
  • Cali: Mondays 1 and 2; Tuesdays 3 and 4; Wednesdays 5 and 6; Thursdays 7 and 8; Fridays 9 and 0; Saturdays 1, 3, 5, 7, and 9; and Sundays 2, 4, 6, 8, and 0.
  • Medellin: Rotating days according to the last digit of an individual's ID.

All international and domestic air travel will remain suspended until at least June 30. Cargo shipments and flights for humanitarian and law enforcement purposes are exempt. All inter-municipal transport is prohibited, except for suburban transport. Public transport can operate at a maximum of 35 percent capacity. Officials have also maintained the closure of all ground and maritime borders, except for trucks and vessels providing cargo shipments and humanitarian aid.

Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. 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 response to the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic. President Duque has stated the country will enter a new phase of quarantine between June 1-30, which will likely allow the gradual reopening of the economy, while taking into consideration specific characteristics of departments and cities, such as population density.

Follow all official instructions. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions. Reconsider and reconfirm nonemergency health appointments. Plan for queues and delays at available shopping centers. Plan for possible ground shipping and travel delays; seek alternative routes and shipping methods for time-sensitive cargo.

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.

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