Red alert! New measures in Bogotá

Another red alert has been issued in Bogotá, meaning the extension of lockdown, with some changes.

Empty streets in January.

Bogotá mayor Claudia López today confirmed the continuation of weekend lockdowns until April 19, with some changes from the last time. She also declared a state of emergency as hospital intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy crossed 75%. The third wave has been confirmed.

The Bogotá health system is now under red alert. That means holiday leave has been cancelled and emergency measures are in place to handle an acute shortage of resources. The ICU occupancy is predicted to rise further, says López, which is why it’s necessary to continue with the unpopular 4×3 plan. The idea behind this is to have four days working and three in isolation.

Pico y cédula will continue throughout. Cafés, restaurants and hotels are officially exempt, but it’s fair to say that many smaller shops are ignoring it. Pico y cédula is the only extra measure being applied in the ‘4’ part of 4×3 (Monday to Thursday), apart from universities being asked to close.

Friday to Monday is a different story, however, and slightly different from last weekend. Firstly, it’s been pulled forward 24 hours, so Friday night drinks are off. The lockdown will begin at 11.59 pm on Thursday night and finish at 4 am on Monday. However, this time around parks and ciclovía will be open.

Read all coverage about the coronavirus in Colombia

As before, you can go out to exercise for an hour, take pets out, and shop for essentials.

Business owners are already predictably up in arms. Although these two weekends were always likely to have restrictions, the changing of the dates has affected some enterprise’s plans with only a few days’ notice that they will now be closed on Friday night. 

The elephant in the room, as ever, is enforcement. With each period of lockdown there is more and more defiance of the rules and less public appetite to follow them. The much-vaunted Plan Cadena, for example, is being widely ignored and the parks were busy last weekend despite not officially being open. A walk in Bogotá’s streets last week showed just as many shops open and people were about as ever.  


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