Colombia Covid-19 Updates

We will be posting daily Covid-19 updates with the most recent update at the top of the article.

April 1

Colombia reports 906 cases of novel coronavirus with 16 deaths and 32 people recuperating. Bogota says that they are ready with 5000 hospital beds. The nation continues to be under a shelter in place order.

Bank hours for different branches can be found in this article.

For Frequently Asked Questions about US Evacuation Sites like this one below, please visit the US Embassy Website.

  • How do I sign up for an evacuation flight?

You can register your interest in an evacuation flight here: http://www.tinyurl.com/BGTRepat. This is a registration form only – IT IS NOT CONFIRMATION THAT YOU WILL BE GUARANTEED A SEAT ON AN EVACUATION FLIGHT. If you are granted a seat on a flight, you will receive an email and/or telephone call separately. If you cannot make it to Bogota, email ColombiaEvac@state.gov to let us know. 

March 30

Colombia reports 702 cases of novel coronavirus with 10 deaths and 10 patients recuperating.

The US Department of Defense has scheduled an evacuation flight for April 1, 2020:

Event: Evacuation Flight on Wednesday, April 1

For the Spanish version of this message, please click here.

The U.S. Embassy, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Defense, has organized an evacuation flight for U.S. citizens from El Dorado Airport in Bogota to Eglin Air Force Base in Destin, FL.  The flight will depart Bogota on Wednesday, April 1 at approximately 1:10pm.  In addition to U.S. citizens, U.S. Legal Permanent Residents traveling with a U.S. citizen family member (spouse, child, or parent) will also be allowed to board.  The flight is operated by the U.S. Government.

Please visit the US Embassy Website for more information.

March 28

Colombia reports 539 coronavirus cases with the majority of those in Bogota. The country remains on a stay at home order.

The US Embassy has arranged a humanitarian flight leaving on Monday, March 30:

Event:  Evacuation Flight on Monday, March 30

The U.S. Embassy, in conjunction with the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, has organized an evacuation flight for U.S. citizens from El Dorado Airport in Bogota to Atlanta, GA.  U.S. Legal Permanent Residents traveling with a U.S. citizen family member (spouse or child) will also be allowed to board.  The flight will depart Bogota at noon, on Monday, March 30.  The flight is operated by the U.S. Government, and passengers will be required to reimburse the cost of their flight.

To register your interest in traveling on this flight, fill out this form (http://tinyurl.com/BGTRepat) as soon as possible.  Frequently Asked Questions about this evacuation are available here (https://co.usembassy.gov/u-s-citizen-services/evacuation-faqs/). You will be contacted by phone or email if there is a seat available.  Please do not call the U.S. Embassy to place your name on the list for this evacuation flight unless you have no other way to access the webpage to complete the form.  Flight departure time and destination within the United States are subject to change without notice.

March 26

Colombia reports 470 cases of coronavirus with most found in Bogota. The country finds itself under mass-quarantine until April 13. The restrictions are layed out below in March 25. For those that would like to see a Spanish version of the 34 published rules, check here.

Via their Facebook page and their website, the US Embassy in Bogota announced a newly scheduled flight from Bogota to Houston on March 28. They suggest you call United to see about availability:

Event: Humanitarian flight to Houston operated by United will depart from El Dorado International Airport on March 28, 2020

The U.S. Embassy in Bogota has been informed that United Airlines will operate the following humanitarian flight, which will depart from El Dorado International Airport in Bogota and go to Houston, Texas. Please contact United Airlines directly for seat availability and reservations.

UA Flt #EqpOriginDepartDestArrivalEff Date
2865757-200BOG17:00IAH22:2028-Mar

Here is the direct link to the United website for this flight; cost at time of publication $1342.

March 25

The US Embassy in Bogota published an update to their Covid-19 information page. Unfortunately, there is no mention of repatriation flights like those in Ecuador. Please call your elected officials and express your concerns if you are trying to return home from Colombia.

Attention U.S. Citizens: Important details on nationwide quarantine

Please note that the Government of Colombia has issued a decree governing the nationwide quarantine from 00:00 on March 25 until 00:00 on April 13. In order to reduce the spread of COVID-19, the decree applies to everyone in Colombia, including foreign visitors.

Everyone must #stayathome. Under the quarantine, you may leave your home or hotel only under specific circumstances, outlined below. Please follow instructions under the decree. The U.S. embassy will remain available for emergency services to U.S. citizens.

During the quarantine, one individual per household may leave his or her home or hotel to:
• Go to the grocery store to buy food
• Go to the pharmacy to pick up medicine
• Walk a pet for 20 minutes in the vicinity of one’s residence
• Access emergency services, including veterinarians
• Attend a necessary medical appointment
• Visit an ATM or bank to access financial services or get a notary
• Take a licensed taxi or public bus when necessary to leave the house for one of these approved reasons.

Domestic air travel within Colombia will be suspended during the quarantine period. Inter-city bus service may also be suspended.

For more information on the quarantine, please see the full decree here. If you fail to follow Colombian law, remember that you could be subject to fines or other legal measures.

To receive updates from the U.S. Embassy, please register at step.state.gov. For U.S. citizens with an emergency, you can call +57 1 275-2000.

March 24

Colombia reports 306 cases of coronavirus with a little over a third of those in Bogota. The US Embassy in Colombia reports that the Bogota quarantine will be extended a day to bridge with the nationwide quarantine that begins at 11:59 this evening.

Today the government begins a nationwide quarantine that will last until April 13 at midnight. Rules available under March 23.

March 23

Tonight at midnight, Bogota will officially enter a full quarantine and shelter in place. The mayor has announced that anyone breaking the order will be fined as much as 1 Million Colombian Pesos, about $250.

Colombia begins 19 days of quarantine on Tuesday, March 24 at 23:59 until April 13 at midnight. These basic rules apply:

  • During the quarantine, one person per family may leave at a time to purchase food, drinks, or items needed for health and safety.
  • Cargo carrying food supplies will continue throughout the country.
  • The government gaurantees availabvility for medical emergencies, hospitalizing patients, and adminstration and operation of private and public health services.
  • Indispensible people and vehicles can circulate in order to maintain public order, safety, security, and public health.
  • In situations of extreme necessity, it will be possible that authorities will use the force necessary to insure compliance.
  • During the quarantine, it will be possible to order food from restaurants or from their on line platforms.
  • By way of exception, the operation of flights for medical and humanitarian causes are permitted. The operation of passengers by air within the national territory is otherwise restricted.
  • The country’s local police stations will continue to work without interruption throughout the national territory and will offer some services virtually.
  • Food and beverage establishments will be closed to the public and may only offer these services through electronic commerce or home delivery.

March 22

Colombia reports 231 cases of Coronavirus with 2 deaths. The Colombian military is helping in various ways to inlcude opening their own hospitals for the community at large and by building temporary field hospitals.

March 21

President Ivan Duque of Colombia confirmed yesterday that the entire nation will be required to shelter in place from Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm until Monday, April 13 at midnight.

March 20

Late yesterday, the US State Department announced a worldwide Level 4 Do Not Travel Advisory. They request that all US Citizens return to the United States if possible. If not, it is time to begin finding ways to shelter in place.

The US Embassy in Colombia posted this announcement on their Facebook page:

The President of Colombia announced yesterday that all international air arrivals will be suspended for a period of 30 days and is suspending other transit passengers at all airports starting at 12 a.m. on Monday, March 23. If your international flight is scheduled after that time, please contact your airline now.

The Mayor of Bogota announced a drill starting Friday, March 20, through Monday, March 23, when all people announced a four-day lockdown “simulation” that require residents to shelter in place or else face possible fines or jail time. Many other cities have established various curfews, including Cartagena which is barring tourists from leaving their hotels or guesthouses except to go to the airport. If you are in Colombia, please work with your hotel or accommodation hosts and monitor local news sites for regulations in your location. Additionally, people over the age of 70 are expected to self-quarantine through May. For details, see this website. U.S. Embassy Bogota will be closed to the public on March 20 and March 23 and available by phone for U.S. citizen emergency services only.

All national land, maritime, and riverine borders are now closed to citizens and non-citizens. Citizens and residents may still enter the country via airports as long as airlines continue to operate. Visit the website of the Colombian Ministry of Foreign Affairs for additional information on these new measures and to register your contact and travel information.

Furthermore, they also provide a link to check possible flights out of Colombia. However, our recommendation is to contact airlines directly.

🇺🇸✈️ U.S. CITIZENS: For information about your individual flights or the status of #Bogotá EL DORADO airport, please see the official airport website eldorado.aero/pasajeros. We recommend you check back regularly to ensure you have access to the most updated information.

March 19

Currently, the worst outbreak in Colombia is in Bogota with 45 cases. Total cases in Colombia are 108.

The President of Colombia announced via Twitter that as of March 23, no passengers from international flights will be permitted to enter Colombia. This includes Colombian citizens.

Furthermore, the Federal Government of Colombia is attempting to coordinate efforts at a nationwide level. In this regard, the President ask all governors and mayors to come together at a national level and face the emergency together.

March 18

Yesterday, the President of Colombia declared a State of Emergency. He ordered all adults over the age of 70 to shelter in place until May 31, 2020. Exceptions will include grocery shopping and essential medical appointments. Most importantly, for all people in Colombia, if you are exhibiting symptoms of the Corona Virus, call 123 option 8, to find out what measures you should follow at your local level.

Nineteen Colombian Departments have curfews in place. To better understand the rules for each location, please refer to this map. Light blue is a “shelter in place” order (toque de queda total). Dark blue is a partial curfew that is generall from 9 pm to 5 am. However, please check with your locality to confirm times.

Bogota is restricting traffic on all roads. Those with licence plates ending in an odd number can drive on odd-numbered days. Those with license plates ending in even numbers can drive on even-numbered days.

Bogata has closed schools until April 19, 2020.

Secretaries of Health, Colombia - phone numbers for contact during the Covid-19 pandemic

How To Recieve Travel Updates From the US State Department

To recieve the latest upates from the US State Deparmtent while you are traveling, please enroll in Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP).

To contact the US Embassy in Colombia, use these numbers or email address:

  • E-mail: ACSBogota@state.gov
  • Emergency Phone (8am – 5pm, Monday – Friday) U.S. Embassy Bogota: (57) 1 2752000
  • After Hours (after 5pm, weekends and holidays) Emergency Phone, U.S. Embassy Bogota: (57) 1 2754021

Original Article:

Friends of ours shared the latest news from the US Embassy in Bogota. Therefore alongside our Covid-19 updates about Ecuador, we will attempt to keep a list of sources for Colombia as well.

The Colombian government confirmed the arrival of Corona Virus to Colombia from a young man who arrived from Italy on March 6, 2020. Today, less than 2 weeks later, there are 65 confirmed cases, some of those by local transmission. That number is expected to grow. With that in mind, the government has taken strict measures to slow the spread of the virus.

Corona Virus in Colombia

From the US Embassy in Bogota on March 17:

The Ministry of Health has confirmed 65 cases of COVID-19 and tested more than 2,500 people for the virus.  It has reported no deaths to date resulting from the virus.  The majority of cases are still imported by travelers, but communally-spread cases are increasing.  Bogota has 33 confirmed cases of COVID-19.

All national land, maritime, and riverine borders are now closed to citizens and non-citizens alike.  Citizens and residents can still enter the country via airports, while non-citizens and non-residents will not be allowed into Colombia.  This measure will be in place until at least May 30, 2020.  Colombia is still permitting international transfers via Bogota El Dorado International Airport.  There is pressure from both Colombian lawmakers and the public to close all international airports, but this has not happened.  A good link to track flights is https://eldorado.aero/en/passengers/flight-information/.

  • Expect changes in airline schedules and services.  This information can change quickly.
  • American Airlines has ceased operations until May 6.
  • As of morning of March 16, all Avianca flights from Bogota to the United States are operating as normal, with the exception of the Cartagena-Miami flight, which has been suspended.
  • As of afternoon March 16, Delta’s last Bogota-JFK flight is March 17.  Service to Atlanta will remain available until March 25.   Delta plans to resume both flights May 2.  The Atlanta-Cartagena flight will be suspended after March 23.
  • As of morning of March 16, JetBlue plans to suspend service from Bogota to the United States from March 18 through April 30.
  • As of morning of March 17, Spirit airlines is operating as normal.
  • As of March 17, United is operating as normal.

Department and municipal leaders across the country are declaring states of emergency, which gives them more power to act unilaterally to confront the spread of COVID-19.  Bogota and Medellin are among those cities who have declared states of emergency.  Meanwhile, governors of five of Colombia’s 32 departments have announced overnight curfews to keep people indoors.  The national government has ordered bars and nightclubs closed across the country.  Some localities are prohibiting the sale of alcohol.

Stores in Bogota remain stocked, but shelves with non-perishables like pasta and dried beans are thinning out.  Many stores have run out of hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays altogether.

Cartagena Specific

A curfew has been declared from 6pm thru 4 am Monday through Friday.  On Saturdays and Sundays, the curfew will be in effect 24 hours. This restriction applies to everyone and is citywide including the Walled City, Getsemani, San Diego and La Matuna from 22:00 to 04:00 am.

Restriction for tourist and locals for all activities at the urban beaches, visitation to the islands and beaches in the municipalities close to Cartagena. Restriction on commercial activities in clubs, bars, taverns, nightclubs, movie theaters, casinos, liquor stores, social clubs, game rooms, recreation centers, motels, racks, canteens, etc.

Public and private events and gatherings of a social, sports, artistic, recreational, cultural, religious or any other nature are suspended.

Limit public service in restaurants and cafes, which much limit the distance of their customers one meter from each other. Table occupancy must be a maximum of 20% of its normal capacity from 06:00 to 22:00.

Tourism during Corona-Virus Outbreak in Colombia

Currently all tourist sites are closed for business. Furthermore, Holy Week events like the procession in Popoyán are also canceled.

While airports remain open, many flights in and out of Colombia are canceled until May. Only Colombian citizens and residents may enter the country. Currently, tourists and visitors are encouraged to leave Colombia or chance remaining in country for many weeks. However, the Colombian Congress has petioned the President to close the airport. Its eventual closure is expected at any time.

Furthermore, many departments (similar to our states) are shutting their borders. That means transportation in and around Colombia will be very complicated.

If you find yourself in Colombia, we recommend finding lodging with a kitchen and sheltering in place for the time being.

Finding Out The Latest Information about Covid-19 in Colombia

We have a few recommended sources for information:

If You Are Experiencing Corona Virus Symptoms in Colombia

If you are experiencing Corona Virus symptoms like fever, cough, or chest pain, please contact the Ministry of Health closest to you. The image below lists Secretaries of Health by Department.

Secretaries of Health, Colombia - phone numbers for contact during the Covid-19 pandemic

Alternatively, if you are a tourist in Colombia wanting more specific information, the Colombia Ministry of Health offers two help lines:

  • Bogota: (031) 3305041
  • All Other Locations in Colombia: 018000955590

They also provide a Covid-19 primer in English that covers the basics like hand-washing, mask wearing, and social distancing. They do ask that if you are sick and in a hotel to please inform reception.

No matter which numbers you chose to call, please be prepared to speak in Spanish. Here is a short primer to help you with a few key words:

I am congestedEstoy congestionado (a)
My throat hurtsMe duele la garganta
I have a light coughTengo una tos leve
I have a bad coughTengo una tos fuerte
My chest hurtsMe duele el pecho
My lungs hurtMe duelen los pulmones
I have a low feverTengo fiebre baja
I have a high feverTengo fiebre alta
I need help getting to the hospitalNecesito ayuda para llegar al hospital

 

Esta publicación está disponible en: Español