April 13, 2024
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Medellin Activating Another 176 ICU Beds for Covid-19 Surge; Colombia President Extends Regulatory Measures Through November

Medellin Mayor Daniel Quintero, Antioquia Governor Anibal Gaviria, Colombia Health Minister Fernando Ruiz and Colombia President Ivan Duque jointly announced October 28 more measures to address surging Covid-19 cases in Antioquia and other parts of Colombia.

Beyond the upcoming bans on booze, bars and Halloween this weekend, upcoming curfews on children from 6 pm Friday, October 30 through 6 pm Monday, November 2 will also include curfews on adults from 10 pm until 6 am on Friday, Saturday, Sunday and until the dawn of Monday, November 2.

“During these days [and times], people may not circulate on the roads or in public spaces in the city,” Mayor Quintero stated.

“This Halloween cannot be normal. Costumes must worn be in the house, children must not go out. There will also be a restriction to avoid parties, not only in bars and restaurants, but even in homes, which is why a ‘dry law’ is put in place,” Quintero added.

The ban on booze sales for private or public consumption starts 6 pm Friday, October 30 and runs until the first minute of Tuesday, November 3.

“The objective in the department of Antioquia is to increase the installed capacity of Intensive Care Units [ICUs] to 1,400,” according to the Mayor’s Office. “The city of Medellín, to reach this goal, complies with ‘Plan Mil’ and as part of it will activate 176 beds that are already installed.”

“This goal of reaching 1,400 ICU beds is with the [Antioquia departmental] government, but the most important goal is that we do not have to use them,” Quintero added.

As of October 28, Medellín has 3,358 active Covid-19 cases, of which 230 are in ICUs, which represents 42% of total ICU capacity for all types of health problems.

Colombia Health Minister Urges Caution

However, Health Minister Fernando Ruiz added that Medellin and Antioquia department “are on a prolonged [Covid-19 case-load] plateau with a slight growth trend, which can generate a number of important problems, already expressed in an occupation of intensive care beds that is between 80% and 90%” department-wide.

To stem a hospital crisis, Antioquia has ordered limits on elective surgeries “to avoid excess-demand for intensive care” as well as “equipping ICU beds with equipment that is already in the territory, with which we can expand easily 180 more beds to be able to have a large availability within the city,” Minister Ruiz stated.

Beyond adding ICU beds, “we require the collaboration of the public to avoid all outbreaks of Covid-19. Social discipline is very important, solidarity among all,” Ruiz added.

President Duque Extends Current Restrictions

Meanwhile, Colombia President Ivan Duque announced in an October 28 nationally televised address that “greater control must be exercised over crowds” that are the main “super-spreaders” of Covid-19 outbreaks.

Citizens must take greater measures for “awareness, behavior, discipline and civic culture to prevail in order to have a good month of November with safe [economic] reactivation,” he said.

President Duque also cited a disturbing “second wave” of Covid-19 in Spain, France, Germany, the United Kingdom and other European countries, “which due to situations of severe outbreaks [governments] have had to take restrictive [quarantine] measures,” which Colombia must try to avoid.

“In the month of October we maintained the ‘selective isolation with responsible individual distancing’ [regulations] and today I have given very clear instructions to the Minister of Health, after having listened to all the experts, so that we issue a decree as of November 1, extending until November 30” the same, current regulations, he said.

Special emphasis will be placed on “exercising greater control over [crowd] agglomerations” while local authorities “will have to work hand in hand with the national government for this purpose,” he added.

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