Colombia Places Part of Amazon Rainforest under Quarantine

La Alcaldía busca un nuevo cementerio para los fallecidos por covid-19.  Foto: Alcaldía de Leticia /

HAVANA TIMES – A strict quarantine on Friday entered into force in Colombia’s southern Amazonas department, which is part of the Amazon rainforest and borders on Covid-19-hit Brazil, reported dpa news.

The department of about 77,000 inhabitants has recorded 924 novel coronavirus infections, the largest number per 100,000 inhabitants in all of Colombia, according to official figures given late Thursday.
At least 26 people have died.

Reachable only by air and river, the department’s capital, Leticia, depends economically on trade with Brazil and Peru, the borders of which could be crossed without any kind of controls until now.

Brazil and Peru are the Latin American countries with the most
Covid-19 infections, with 202,918 and 80,604 confirmed cases respectively.

Colombia had 13,610 cases and 525 deaths as of Thursday evening.

The rapid surge in infections in the impoverished Amazonas prompted the government to put it under quarantine until the end of the month.

Residents are only allowed to go out for unavoidable reasons such as shopping for food or medicines or providing essential services, the Interior Ministry announced late Thursday.

Brazilian President Jair Bolsonaro has downplayed the importance of the pandemic despite a steep increase in infections in his country.

Colombian and Brazilian ministers of foreign affairs, health and defence were due to hold talks on Friday on how to prevent the virus from spreading across the Amazon border, where Colombia has started introducing some controls.

The hospital and clinic in Leticia are on the verge of collapse, and Amazonas has no intensive care facilities.