Covid-19 News by Coffee Axis Travel. Front and center of the crisis we are watching everything happen in real time. Here in Manizales, it has been no exception – only another story, which involves the Coronavirus.
Covid-19 in the Coffee Axis?!
The first case was found in Dosquebradas, Dept. of Risaralda; then another case popped up in Manizales, Caldas. It was a 65 year old American who had come in with a tour group 8 days prior. He was immediately quarantined along with the guide and tour group for 14 days.
Two more cases were reported in Armenia on Wednesday, March 18th. Infection rates are growing steadily even as towns and cities are going into lockdown to try to contain the virus.
According to THIS ARTICLE from Wired.com – the US is months behind on having tests for everyone. Here is a quote from the article:
“We have one of the more cumbersome—or, you could say, diligent—regulatory systems for testing,” says Bruce Carlson, publisher of Kalorama Information, a market research firm that covers medical diagnostics. “We’re very concerned about false positives, just as damning as false negatives.”Wired Online Magazine – Everything You Need to Know About Coronavirus Testing
It is more difficult than we are being told – to accurately diagnose. Which makes this more dangerous. The obvious answer here is to be very cautious about crying wolf too soon.
Without a doubt, precautions must be taken and people must stay healthy. But, if the US is struggling to provide tests, how does Colombia have so much technology for covid-19 news – and where did they get it so suddenly?
Curfew or “Toque de Queda,” is Declared
On March 17th, instead of drinking green beer, Carlos Mario Marin announced that Manizales will be under a 14 day curfew starting the next day. All minors 18 and under, along with adults 60 and older are prohibited from leaving home. The between age group can go out for work and necessary errands.
Obviously, I am only mentioning one point out of the 15 or 20 total which are covered, be sure to read it for yourself so you understand. (Spanish) It closes the doors of non-essential businesses and installs a curfew of 7:00 PM to 5:00 AM.
Duque Issues a Decree Overturning Curfew Nationwide
The above listed document (Click “Download” to view), essentially details that the mandates rolling out across country were not FEDERALLY approved. And that creates a whole new level of chaos. Is he going to go through and approve each declaration? Weird outcome. We are going to explain his main points a little bit later in this article.
In a new update for Wednesday March 18th, there are now 18 new cases for a total of 93 patients who test positive for Coronavirus.
Obviously this is an evolving situation which would lead us to believe that it is indeed a legitimate concern. Yet, much of the “we are a plague on the earth” crowd are now using their megaphones to say, “Stay home so we can survive,” and “I don’t want to lose my grandfather.”
Still, some of us have no income unless we continue working – think about that. Are you going to let your family starve because you are afraid of getting sick?
Keep in mind that, certain things cannot be blocked by the “Toque de Queda,” or Curfew situation. This Article, by El Tiempo states what can and can’t be blocked/closed down, by a regional curfew mandate.
Official Mandatory Quarantine Starts March 24th, 2020 at Midnight
Update: For 19 days, all of Colombia will be under a mandatory curfew status. In a desperate effort to prevent the spread of Coronavirus cases, all citizens will be restricted to their homes until April 13th, 2020. This information came from eltiempo.com.
What does Curfew mean and what are the limitations of power?
The previous article we mentioned should be of particular interest to anyone who is traveling (or needs to travel), and/or running a small business. Here are some of its main points:
- Travel cannot be restricted between municipalities within the department.
- Food distribution points, small local places for food and drink/restaurants, supermarkets, pharmacy products, pet/animal food etc…CAN STAY OPEN, with preference for delivery options. Also electronically based businesses too.
- It CAN mandate that minors under 18 stay home.
- No drinking of alcoholic beverages in any public place or business from 19th of March until 30th of May.
These are the guidelines that YOU will need to know to understand what exactly Duque’s decree was all about. Note: He did not confirm the quarantine of senior citizens. That isn’t to say you shouldn’t take care of your health, but if you need to go shopping – you shouldn’t be restricted.
Travel Issues and Information
We now know that the borders of Colombia are closed for one month.
National citizens and Foreign “Residents – R,” are being permitted to return and go into a minimum 14 day quarantine. People who are engaged in active visa processes are being denied and sent home or given up to 3 month extensions according to their quarantine situations.
Many local expats opted to actually return home, particularly if they had the opportunity or income to return to. Those of us who don’t, are here for the duration, and preparing to survive in place until at least July or August.
Xenophobia also seems to be picking up in Colombia. Take this with a grain of salt, but use extra caution. Expat Facebook groups are reporting some instances of discrimination/suspicion by taxi drivers, store clerks and local residents. Others are advising that foreign residents keep a low profile for now until this either blows over or things get more serious.
These are only some of the situations we are actually hearing about. If you are having a visa situation – leave us your comments so we can stay on top of the information.
The last few days were spent, spending my savings – on provisions. Hopefully it will be enough to feed ourselves for a little while. I have a few bocadillos on hand out to any homeless which come to our gate. It isn’t much but at least they won’t leave empty handed.
My mom had to run out and pick up more money but she has been ok with staying home. For work, I am still teaching students – mostly in-person because our internet is a bit patchy for videoconferencing. My son has been kept home for over a week now, he is the one we aren’t taking any chances on.
This will be a good time to organize myself a bit, work on generating more content and continue to try to understand what is happening. Like everyone else here in the Coffee Axis of Colombia it is a bit brutal to see tourism get blown to bits and our dreams shattered. Especially when the year had started off so incredibly well.
I will continue to try to stay home – except to continue to purchase things we are low on. It isn’t much, but the rumor is that this can last until July/August. Keep us in your prayers as we keep you in ours that we all make it through both mentally, physically and economically.
Conclusions in Comments Please!
The floor is open to discuss this in the comments below. Please give us your point of view, but try to keep your responses logical and respectful of everyone. And don’t forget to share this with people who can offer unique perspectives or information!!