Health News

Colombian lawmakers told to quarantine after confirmed COVID infection

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s lower house abruptly ended its session on Thursday and asked lawmakers to quarantine after a member tested positive for coronavirus.

Lawmakers in Colombia, which has registered more than 1.1 million confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 32,000 deaths, have the option to connect virtually or attend sessions in person.

At least 150 lawmakers could potentially have been exposed, the chamber’s press office said.

Representatives should avoid travel to their home regions and remain in Bogota while they wait 72 hours from potential exposure to have a test, said the president of the chamber, Conservative representative German Blanco.

“Obviously this is a delicate and grave circumstance,” Blanco said. “I’m going to end the session, because I have the responsibility not to maintain debate...”

Blanco said representative Alejandro Carlos Chacon, of the Liberal party, tested positive for coronavirus after attending Wednesday’s session.

Chacon did not immediately respond to a message seeking comment.

All lawmakers should remain in the capital until Saturday, said representative Maria Jose Pizarro, relaying recommendations from the city’s health department.

Last month a senator from Mexico’s ruling party died after contracting COVID-19.

Reporting by Carlos Vargas; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb; Editing by Dan Grebler