Colombia Live updates
- Colombia will temporarily release some 4,000 prisoners to house arrest in an attempt to stem the spread of the coronavirus, Justice Minister Margarita Cabello said, adding that additional people may be released in the coming days.
- Two people recently released from a prison in the central city of Villavicencio died after contracting the coronavirus. Thirteen other prisoners, two guards and an administrator in the same institution also have confirmed coronavirus infections.
- Colombia’s Health Ministry confirmed the first COVID-19 case on March 6, involving a 19-year-old woman who returned to Bogotá from Milan.
- The country reported it’s the first death from the virus on March 21. The 58-year-old taxi driver in Cartagena was believed to have contracted the disease from Italian tourists who were his passengers on March 4.
- President Iván Duque was tested for the virus after possible exposure on March 2 during a trip to Washington DC, where he participated in an event also attended by people who had been exposed to a carrier of the virus. The president tested negative.
- On March 20, Duque announced that starting on the night of March 24, the country will begin a nationwide quarantine that will last through April 13. Inbound international commercial flights are suspended starting March 23 for 30 days, and Colombian citizens traveling abroad were urged a return by the evening of March 22. On March 21, the Duque appointed former Commerce Minister Luis Guillermo Plata to lead the coordination of the country’s coronavirus response.
- In a bit of political sparring between Bogotá’s left-wing mayor and the conservative president, Claudia López announced that the city government is preparing for a three-month-long quarantine, while the Duque administration is reportedly considering an “accordion-style” quarantine strategy with seven, 10-week periods oscillating between expanded and lighter restrictions.