July 10, 2020 / 5:26 PM / a month ago

Colombian capital to renew lockdowns by neighborhood as cases rise

A man wearing a face mask walks in front of the Palace of Justice, amidst an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia July 10, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombian capital Bogota will initiate strict, rolling two-week quarantines in certain neighborhoods starting Monday to curb the spread of coronavirus as cases rise and intensive care units fill, the mayor said on Friday.

The Andean country has reported just under 134,000 cases of COVID-19 and 4,714 deaths. More than 32% of cases have occurred in the capital, along with a fifth of deaths.

“Nobody in Colombia has the same challenge we do,” Mayor Claudia Lopez said in a video broadcast.

Eight neighborhoods will enter quarantine on Monday, Lopez said, with another four neighborhoods beginning lockdown on July 27 and a final three entering quarantine on Aug. 10.

The measures are a return to those declared in late March by President Ivan Duque as part of an ongoing national quarantine. The lockdown is set to continue until Aug. 1, but many restrictions have already been lifted, especially in municipalities without any recorded COVID cases.

Latin America’s fourth-largest economy has been battered by the coronavirus safety measures and a slump in prices of oil, one of the country’s top exports and foreign exchange sources.

During Bogota’s quarantines only one person per household can go shopping within the neighborhood for essentials each day. Sale of alcoholic drinks is prohibited.

Movement will also be restricted based on citizens’ ID card numbers and people will have to be at home from 8 p.m. until 5 a.m.

“July and August are going to be the most difficult (months) to pass - I insist pass, not postpone - the pandemic’s peak,” Lopez said. “With this plan we have agreed with the national government, with the people, with all of the mayor’s office, I am sure we will be able to maintain our goal of safeguarding lives.”

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Additional reporting by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Richard Chang

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