Colombia closes its skies to domestic flights and guarantees supply


The Colombian Government announced this Saturday that starting next Wednesday, the 25th, it will suspend the commercial air operation of passengers and will also restrict land transportation between municipalities to contain the expansion of COVID-19, of which there are already 196 cases in the country.

The date coincides with the start of the 19-day quarantine that Colombian President Iván Duque announced last night to the country.

According to the Presidency, as of the 25th “the commercial operation of passengers by air within the national territory is restricted,” and it will be enabled, exceptionally, “for ambulance planes and humanitarian cases.”

The same provision regulates the road transport of passengers, limited to 20% of the usual capacity to guarantee “the mobility of doctors, nurses and health service providers,” said the Minister of Transport, Angela Orozco, in a statement together with his counterpart in Commerce, José Manuel Restrepo, and the Vice President, Marta Lucía Ramírez.

As for cargo ports, both public and private, they must maintain an open operation to guarantee the supply of food and other services demanded by the population to comply with the “mandatory preventive isolation” ordered by Duque, which will last until 13 of April.

To stop the expansion of the coronavirus, the head of state announced a few days ago, among other measures, the suspension for 30 days of the entry of travelers from abroad by air, including Colombians, a measure that will take effect next Monday.

To coordinate comprehensive care for the COVID-19 pandemic, the Government today appointed former Trade Minister Luis Guillermo Plata as manager.

“In this challenge for the country and the world, we need, as a government, to respond articulately to Colombians and that is why we have appointed former Minister Luis Guillermo Plata,” President Duque said on social media when making the announcement.

GUARANTEED SUPPLY

On the other hand, the Government assured that the supply of food and the supply of medicines and other goods and services necessary for the population are also guaranteed.

“We are going to have access to medicines; we are going to have access to those cleaning elements; we are going to have access, then, to those products that allow us to continue our lives,” said the Minister of Commerce.

Restrepo stressed that together with the industrial sector, more than 130 products from the basic basket were identified and each one of them was made “the inventory that we would have for the next few days”.

He added that the unions and the government have made an effort to ensure that there is access to imported products that are needed to produce certain foods or medicines and that “in some cases, we have even identified the need to lower tariffs for that import.”

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