Colombia approved the reopening of most large events it had banned to contain the pandemic, even with intensive care units likely to be full until the end of June and more than 90,000 dead from COVID-19.
The South American country has gradually loosened many restrictions imposed in March last year to control the spread of Corona virus and rolled back others for certain locations yesterday, though medical staff expect cases to remain high.
Health Minister Fernando Ruiz said in a statement, adding a fourth peak is possible, they are proposing is a safe reopening with conditions that allow to move gradually, as vaccination grows and as cities move past this third peak.
Cities with ICU occupancy rates above 85 per cent will continue to see some restrictions, Mr Ruiz said, but other areas will be allowed to bring back events like concerts and sports matches, with audiences capped at 25 per cent capacity. All three of Colombia’s biggest cities, the capital Bogota, Medellin and Cali have ICU occupancy rates above 96 per cent.
A measure which required international travelers to present a negative PCR test to enter Colombia will be suspended and in-person classes for preschool through university will restart from 15th of July after staff are vaccinated.
The decision came the same day the Health Ministry reported a total of 90,353 COVID-19 deaths. Thursday also saw a new daily death record of 545 and a new high of 28,624 daily reported infections.
Colombia has so far administered more than 10.6 million vaccine doses, including 3.3 million second doses, as part of its plan to vaccinate more than 35 million people this year.