January 07, 21 - 4:31 pm - LABS

Colombia’s Bogota to enter lockdown as of this Thursday amid new strain concerns

Bogota, Colombia’s capital, will enter a strict quarantine until Tuesday due to rising Covid-19 infection numbers and suspicions that a new variant of the virus is circulating, said Mayor of Bogota Claudia Lopez on Thursday as reported by Reuters.

Strict quarantines have already been put into effect on three Bogota areas this week to try and control rising coronavirus infections, which the city’s Mayor said could be caused by a new variant of the virus first identified in the UK.

People throughout the capital will be largely confined to their homes from midnight on Thursday until four o’clock in the morning on Tuesday, Lopez stated, declaring a red alert in the city. Non-essential shops and businesses will be closed and one person per household will be allowed to buy food or medicine.

Curfews lasting from eight at night until four in the morning will then run until Jan. 17.

“We are confronting a new strain of COVID which is very possibly already circulating in Bogota,” said Lopez during a news conference. “We can’t see any other reason for the viral load we are finding in patients.”

“Right now there’s no scientific evidence that accelerating COVID-19 transmission in Colombia can be attributed to the new British strain,” Ministry of Health director for epidemiology and demography, said in a statement.

Colombia has recorded more than 1.7 million coronavirus infections and 44,723 deaths from COVID-19.

In Bogota, which counts for over a quarter of national cases, occupancy of intensive care units for coronavirus reached 83.9%, according to local government figures.

Usaquen, Suba, and Engativa areas in Bogota city will remain in strict quarantine as planned until January 18 and strict quarantines will be extended in the neighborhoods of Kennedy, Fontibon, and Teusaquillo until January 22, said Lopez.