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Health News

Colombia's capital will see second, smaller coronavirus outbreak, mayor says

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk down a street, during the reactivation of several economic sectors after the end of quarantine due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia September 25, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Bogota, the Colombian capital, will see a second outbreak of coronavirus cases, possibly between November and December, which will hopefully be less severe than the first wave, Bogota’s mayor, Claudia Lopez, said on Friday.

“Most probably towards the end of the year, in November or December, we could have a second wave much smaller than the first,” Lopez said in a meeting with foreign press.

The Andean country began more than five months of lockdown in March. It entered a much-looser “selective” quarantine phase - allowing dining at restaurants and international flights - at the start of September. On Monday the government extended the selective quarantine until the end of October.

A second wave is expected to be less severe due to measures such as mandatory use of face masks, social distancing and frequent hand washing, in addition to tracking coronavirus cases and quarantines for those infected, Lopez said.

In addition, a new wave of cases would be smaller due to higher levels of immunity and greater capacity of the city’s healthcare system.

It is not possible to predict if a quarantine of the city or specific areas - as was used to control the first outbreak - will be needed, Lopez said, adding she hopes that will not be the case.

Epidemiological models predict up to a third wave of infections by the end of the first quarter of 2021, which would also be less intense, she added.

Colombia has reported over 841,500 cases of coronavirus and 26,397 deaths. In Bogota, intensive care unit occupancy - which exceeded 90% in July - stands at 62.7%. The capital accounts for almost a third of the country’s cases and 6,825 deaths, according to the national health institute.

Reporting by Luis Jaime Acosta; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Leslie Adler

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