July 20, 2020 / 10:32 PM / a month ago

Colombia's coronavirus cases top 200,000, deaths at nearly 7,000

FILE PHOTO: Members of the medical team prepare the items to practice tests for the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in one of the neighbourhoods where the mayor's office decreed strict quarantine, amidst an outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota, Colombia July 14, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s confirmed cases of coronavirus topped 200,000 on Monday, the health ministry said, while deaths from the disease reached 6,929 as the Andean country continues a months-long lockdown meant to stem infections.

Colombia now has a total of 204,005 cases, still well behind other Latin American countries like Brazil, Peru, Mexico and Chile, which are among the 10 countries worldwide with the most infections.

Colombia’s government has estimated it will reach its peak of cases in August. Several cities, including the capital Bogota, are close to full occupation of beds in COVID-19 intensive care units.

The nationwide quarantine - declared at the end of March by President Ivan Duque - is set to last until Aug. 1.

Though certain neighborhoods, especially in the capital, are under strict restrictions, other areas have loosened rules as the government seeks to stoke the economy, which is expected to contract 5.5% this year.

Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Julia Symmes Cobb and David Gregorio

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