Update: Medellin ‘Donaton’ Aids Coronavirus Victims; President Frees Food/Groceries Home Deliveries from Hours Restrictions
Utilities giant EPM and the Mayor of Medellin on April 12 generated more than COP$13 billion (US$3.4 million) worth of private donations – both in cash and also in food — through a televised “Donaton por Medellin” campaign, aiming to help Coronavirus victims and especially poor families.
Among the first announcing support for the “Donaton” were Bancolombia (COP$400 million/US$104,000). Bancolombia also separately donated another COP$200 million (US$52,000) for a Coronavirus respirator-consortium research project here organized by Medellin-based tech incubator Ruta N and Colombia’s industrial-commercial trade association ANDI.
Medellin-based cement/power/highways concessionaire Grupo Argos pitched-in another COP$400 million (US$104,000) for the “Donaton,” while Medellin-based insurance giant Grupo Sura likewise donated COP$300 million (US$78,000).
Also during the “Donaton,” Medellin-based supermarket giant Grupo Exito announced the donation of 20,000 bags of food containing 12 vital, basic items — all for poor families affected by the crisis. Grupo Exito and its customers have been massively subsidizing basic food packages for poor families, pregnant women and young children for years, on top of the latest “Donaton” donations.
According to the Mayor’s office, the biggest single donor late last night was Medellin-based electric power transmission giant ISA (COP$4 billion/ US$1.03 million), followed by Barranquilla-based national charity Fundacion Santo Domingo (COP$500 million/ US$129,000).
Antioquia-based dairy cooperative Colanta pitched-in another COP$300 million (US$78,000) while banana-producer cooperative Uniban chipped-in COP$100 million (US$26,000).
The Medellin-based Une-EPM “Tigo” national telecom/internet company put in another COP$400 million (US$104,000) and Tigo employees added another COP$220 million (US$57,000) worth of food-bank donations for the poor.
Freight logistics specialist Distrimarcas contributed COP$100 million (US$26,000) while agricultural supplies giant Grupo Bios added another COP$260 million (US$67,000), according to the Mayor.
Medellin-based international rock-star musicians Maluma (COP$200 million/US$52,000), J Balvin (20,000 food baskets) and Juanes (780 food baskets) also announced donations to the “Donaton,” while Argos, Sura, Bancolombia and Medellin-based multinational foods giant Nutresa separately announced joint collaborations on more, massive food donations for poor families affected by Coronavirus crisis.
In total, more than 100,000 bags of basic food packages for the poor had been pledged or gathered during the “Donaton.”
President Duque Abolishes Home-Delivery Restrictions
Meanwhile, Colombia President Ivan Duque announced April 12 that as of the first minute of Monday, April 13, prior hours-of-operations restrictions on home deliveries of foods and groceries to quarantined people will be eliminated during the Coronavirus crisis.
Under “Decree 536,” the former 6:00 am to 8:00 pm restriction for home deliveries is eliminated as of April 13, according to the President.
On a related front, President Duque separately announced that “more than 100 medical products to attend the [Coronavirus crisis] situation will not have VAT [value-added tax].”
“Today we need to be more united than ever to overcome this pandemic, but also beyond today we have to be more united than ever to get our country moving ahead, our economy ahead, our jobs ahead, our opportunities ahead,” he added.
Deaths Soon Topping 100 Nationally
Meanwhile, Colombia’s Health Ministry reported that as of April 11, Colombia had a total of 2,709 cases of Coronavirus, led by Bogota (1,164); Cali/Valle del Cauca (479) and Medellin/Antioquia (253).
So far, 100 persons have died from Coronavirus complications (including one 90-year-old woman in Antioquia) while 214 persons have recovered fully, according to the Ministry.