Colombia extends national quarantine until July

Having been without work and salary for months, bus drivers, wearing a face mask and waving a flag, protest to demand President relax the restrictions against the spread of the new coronavirus, in Bogota, Colombia, May 27, 2020. (AP Photo)

on Thursday extended a nationwide quarantine to contain the spread of the until July 1, while allowing more freedom of movement in some parts of the country.

Thousands of businesses have begun to reopen in the Andean country, with new safety protocols and reduced staff, as a lockdown in place since late March was due to lift at the end of May.

Under the government-mandated extension, that business restart will continue. Hairdressers and barbers are among the businesses allowed to reopen, along with museums and libraries, at the discretion of local mayors.

However, other broad restrictions will remain in place. Public transit between municipalities and domestic flights will remain barred and in many areas people are required to stay indoors.

Colombia has reported more than 25,300 COVID-19 cases and 882 deaths. The rate of new cases reported daily continues to rise, with the 1,268 confirmed new cases on Wednesday the biggest daily surge so far.

Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez had already announced plans to extend movement restrictions in the capital until at least June 15. Bogota accounts for more than 8,500 of the country's reported infections.

"We have agreed with the health ministry to follow these recommendations in Bogota for the next two weeks," Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Twitter on Thursday afternoon.

More details would be given in a press conference on Saturday, Lopez said, adding the measures would be evaluated after June 15.

A dozen areas of Bogota with high infection rates have already been placed under special restrictions that include preventing residents from outdoor exercise.

Colombia has suspended all international flights until at least Aug. 31. The government has said they are likely to resume in September.

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