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Colombia bets on reopening the economy amid the worst of the pandemic

Bogotá / Medellín, Jun 8 (.) .- In a risky bet to revive the economy in the midst of the worst peak of the covid-19, Bogotá and Medellín, among other Colombian cities, lift restrictions on sectors closed since the beginning. of the pandemic, such as nightlife and sporting events with the presence of the public. After the two most lethal months of the pandemic and a first week in June where the figures are not getting better, with more than 500 daily cases and historical highs of new infections, the country accumulates 3,593,016 infections and 92,496 deaths from covid- 19. The Ministry of Health approved a decree allowing the “reactivation” from June 1, which laid the foundations for an accelerated and safe activation of the economy in order to stimulate job creation, one of the factors that can mitigate the poverty in which the country is plunged and which has caused protests throughout the country since last April 28. ENTERPRISE JOY “Now we can open in our normal hours,” Gigliola Aycardi, founding partner of the Bodytech gym chain, told . today. The executive trusted that in “August we can return to the 2019 numbers. 2020 was a very difficult year. 2020 sales were just 30%, we expect to be 100 percent in the second semester.” Along with greater freedom of schedules for establishments, since the curfew is dispensed with, the measure will also give air, especially to nightlife, since the dry law for bars and restaurants is lifted, and sets the conditions for holding cultural events and sports and reopen nightclubs. Thus, 10,000 people will have access to the South American qualifying match between Colombia and Argentina, in the Caribbean city of Barranquilla, chosen by the authorities to pilot the reopening given the favorable sanitary conditions. BOGOTÁ OPEN Despite the fact that Bogotá is the main focus of the pandemic and surpassed one million accumulated cases a few days ago, the Mayor’s Office considers that it is necessary to open the economy because the need to generate employment is “pressing”. “We lift the curfew, the dry law, there are no restrictions for most sectors with the exception of the gastrobars that will go until 1 in the morning,” the district secretary for Economic Development of Bogotá, Carolina Durán, told .. However, the joy for the reopening is not total. He clarified that “there are still no discotheques, there are still no great shows” and that in the case of football it will continue but behind closed doors. These sectors will only be able to function again until the city goes from red alert to yellow alert, below 85% occupancy in ICU beds, and the National Government will be asked to make pilots with these sectors. BARRANQUILLA PIONERA, MEDELLÍN JOINS Barranquilla, which has already passed the worst of this peak, began last week the reopening of all economic sectors that, until now, had been restricted by the pandemic. Public and private events are authorized, which include concerts, mass and sporting events, in addition to the reopening of discos, always complying with biosafety regulations: a maximum capacity of 25% of the capacity of the infrastructure where the event takes place. , as long as the occupancy of ICU beds remains below 85%, since if so, events exceeding 50 people will not be allowed. Medellín also joined the reopening within a “new pact” for social and economic recovery, with the aim of returning 15,000 jobs, that is, 50% of the jobs that were lost in the capital of Antioquia since beginning of the pandemic. “Today we begin a process of safe reactivation. The curfews in Medellín are over,” said Medellín Mayor Daniel Quintero. This reopening allows some 3,000 commercial establishments, including restaurants, gastrobars and bars, to open without restrictions, and also marks the completion of measures such as curfew, dry law and peak and ID. The city, which has not yet passed the critical phase that began in April due to the collapse of its hospital system, is preparing for the International Tango Festival, which will be held outdoors between June 24 and 30, while the fairs Colombiamoda and Colombiatex activate their catwalks and stands from July 27 to 29. ALARMS IN THE SCIENTIFIC COMMUNITY Despite the optimism of some, the scientific, academic and medical community called on the Government to “delay” the reopening throughout the country. In a statement, they stated that “the current moment is the least opportune to start an economic opening in the country” and that to do so, appropriate epidemiological measures and conditions are necessary. They allege that the country suffers the impact of a progressive growth of the third peak, with high rates of deaths and infections, collapse of the hospital network and shortage of oxygen and supplies, among others. “It is essential to implement territorialized comprehensive action strategies and health literacy programs and information actions for communities and society, to mitigate the impact of the pandemic, including the commitment to massively accelerate vaccination,” they detail. Vaccination progresses smoothly in the country and 11,733,523 vaccines have been applied, of which 3,471,207 correspond to second doses, that is, Colombia has 9.8% of the target population immunized with two doses and almost 33% with just one dose. (c) . Agency

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