Colombia will begin easing restrictions put in place to control the spread of the coronavirus starting from June, President Ivan Duque said Wednesday, though he asked the public to continue isolating at home and keep using measures to contain the disease.
Colombia has reported more than 24,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the coronavirus, as well as 803 deaths.
The country began a nationwide quarantine in late March.
“The pandemic hasn’t gone away,” Duque said in his televised nightly address. “This is going to be a very important month for all of us.”
Sectors like retail and non-COVID-related medical care can begin normalizing gradually once the lockdown ends, but large events, bars and nightclubs will continue to be closed. Restaurants will be open for takeaway orders only, Duque said.
“We are not reviving social life,” Duque said. “We have to continue protecting health and lives and going forward we have to adapt to a disease that will be around for a long time.”
Even as restrictions begin to ease, public transport in cities must not exceed 35% of their capacity and land borders will continue to be closed. International flights, domestic flights and inter-city buses will continue to be suspended.
As part of the relaxed rules, children aged 2 to 5 years old will be allowed out three times a week for 30 minutes from the first of June, while those aged 6 to 17 will be permitted outside three times a week for up to an hour.
Adults under 70 years old will be allowed out three times a week for up to two hours at a time. People aged 70 and over are considered a high-risk population and should remain at home, though they may go out for 30 minutes three times a week.