BOGOTÁ (.) – Colombia on Saturday increased measures to prevent, control and reduce the expansion of the coronaviurus in Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena, three of the capitals most affected by the pandemic, despite the gradual reopening of some activities in the economy with high levels of security in other cities.

The South American country of 50 million inhabitants, which so far reports more than 26,600 people infected and 853 killed by COVID-19, extended until July 1 the mandatory preventive isolation that began on March 24.

“The adoption of some additional measures was evaluated and defined in these particular cases,” Interior Minister Alicia Arango said in a statement.

Before extending preventive isolation for the fifth time, the Government authorized the resumption of construction, manufacturing and some sectors of commerce with high biosafety standards, although it maintains its borders, national and international flights and passenger transportation closed. highway.

For Bogotá, the Colombian capital of about eight million inhabitants that registers 9,162 positive cases and 239 deaths, no additional openings will be allowed as shopping centers, while rigorous monitoring will be carried out until June 15 throughout the city and a fence over the main food sales center.

In Cali, the third most populous city in Colombia with 2.2 million inhabitants reporting more than 2,400 positive cases and 105 deaths from COVID-19, access to the main food sales center was restricted and became a focus of contagion, while diagnostic tests will be increased and the delivery of aid for poor people who must remain in confinement.

In Cartagena, the country’s main tourist resort on the Caribbean Sea, which registers 2,650 cases and 126 deaths, access to the city’s main market square was also restricted and controls on mobility were increased.

The restrictions for Bogotá, Cali and Cartagena contrast with the relaxation in Medellín, which allowed the reopening of some shopping centers with high security measures.

The fourth largest economy in Latin America has been affected by isolation measures that have reduced its productive activity and increased unemployment, in addition to the drop in oil prices, its main source of export earnings.

Under the restrictions, the government announced that children between the ages of two and five will be allowed to leave the home for 30 minutes three times a week, as will adults over the age of 70.

Youth ages six to 17 will be allowed to go out up to one hour three times a week, while adults under the age of 70 will be able to go out two hours a day.

(Report by Luis Jaime Acosta)