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27th of March. 

Yesterday  the last KLM flight to Amsterdam with a stopover in Cartagena took off  (until the programmed end of the lockdown) to repatriate Dutch nationals, and it was a cloudy and rainy day in the city. Most shops are closed in the neighborhood except the supermarkets, grocery stores and the bakery and surprisingly liquor-store nearby. The bakery in which always people would drink a coffee or have breakfast is empty now, and there is big cardboard sign placed behind the window with phone-numbers and “home delivery”.

Even when my hairdresser told me twenty days ago that the first case of Corona was detected in the country I couldn’t imagine that there would be a total lockdown in the same month, and that all the hairdressers would be closed.

Many people seem to obey the rule, and the people in the bakery and neighbors wear face masks. Neighbors who used to be close , keep their distance now.

All of the airlines have suspended their operations in Colombia with only cargo flights remaining, and perhaps occasional humanitarian flights to repatriate foreigners that are stuck in Colombia to their home countries.

Transmilenio buses in Bogota during lockdown (picture by the newspaper El Tiempo).
Transmilenio buses in Bogota during lockdown (picture by the newspaper El Tiempo).

Latam airlines for example has repatriated 2200 persons in the last days on flights to different countries.

In the meantime the amount of registered cases of the coronavirus have risen to 491 in the country, of which 187 in Bogota.

The sick are cared for mostly at home and when needed in different hospitals by the medical and paramedical teams. People working in the health sector will receive an additional bonus from the government.  The country now has 5 laboratories to do corona tests (of which one in the capital), but the idea is to set up 2 more laboratories. From the first of April 350,000 corona-tests per week will be done.

2100 people that had contact with people with the Coronavirus are being monitored.

In the Teusaquillo neighborhood a Facebook group is used to connect people to help older people doing the shopping or exchange information where to get hold of boardgames. This neighborhood used to be for upper middle class families in big houses, but the neighborhood right now is populated by older inhabitants with their children living in other places. The English style city villas are on the monumental heritage list of Bogota which makes a restructuring of the area into an area with condominiums virtually impossible.

A focus is also put on the bordering region with Venezuela, and the possibility of an uncontrolled outbreak in this neighboring country, and ways of possible cooperation.

The transformation of areas in to apartments with often a common green area is on the rise. The common green areas of the condominiums have been sealed off to prevent the spread of the coronavirus within compounds. Restricting the possibility of the families to take a stroll during the lock down, and for children to run around,  but which is also taken for granted for the health protection. The lock down also often leads to a separation of parents and children, grandparents and grandchildren, or couples that used “to live apart and together.” On the other hand on the 24 of March a group of more than 50 people, mainly Venezuelans according to the press, came to the main square of the city, the Plaza de Bolivar to get a food package and other benefits, that were falsely promised in a WhatsApp chain message. Figures of the end of 2019 show that there are 350000 Venezuelans living in Bogota, many doing informal jobs, or work for the food deliverer Rappi.

Another WhatsApp chain message   circles around about a rule which would be  in force in which people depending on the last number of their ID can leave their house to do shopping with a maximum of one hour and one person per household, that turned out to be a hoax. It turned out to be an manipulated image used in the city of Apartado where this rule is in force, as in other cities in Colombia as well.


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