Colombian President Iván Duque announced Tuesday that he will militarize the border crossing with Brazil located in Leticia, in the jungle department of Amazonas, to contain the coronavirus emergency in the area, where there are already 743 infected and 26 deaths.
“The decision has been made to militarize all the border points with greater presence and to exercise the respective control to prevent imported cases of floating populations from arriving,” Duque said during his daily televised program “Prevention and Action.”
Colombia and Brazil share 1,644 kilometers of border, Leticia being the only border crossing from the Colombian side to the Brazilian Tabatinga and also to the Peruvian town of Santa Rosa de Yavarí.
In addition to the Amazon cases, today the first two infections were confirmed in Vaupés, a department that also has limits with Brazil.
The Colombian populations of Tarapacá, La Pedrera, Mitú, Taraira, Yavaraté, Pana Pana and La Guadalupe, which are also in the region, in the departments of Amazonas, Guainía and Vaupés, do not have a border crossing with Brazil since they are dense areas jungle.
Duque pointed out that today that “special containment measures have also been taken in the face of the Leticia prison situation, where we have a cluster that is being managed from an epidemiological point of view with the recommendations of the National Institute of Health (INS) ”
In the report provided yesterday by the Amazon Governorate, it was indicated that there were “191 new positive cases”, 85 of which “correspond to the population deprived of liberty” in the Leticia prison.
However, a report by the National Penitentiary and Prison Institute (Inpec) indicates that there are “89 inmates” and an official with COVID-19.
MORE RESOURCES FOR THE BORDER
To try to stop the advance of the coronavirus in the remote Amazon, where it can only be reached by plane from Bogotá, the Health Minister, Fernando Ruiz, who visited Leticia on May 3, announced that 55,000 masks will be delivered and 14,000 will be destined million pesos (about 3.6 million dollars) for the only regional hospital.
The money will arrive in the Amazon in early June with the aim that “the hospital has fresh resources and can work,” Ruiz said.
Another measure that the national government took was to send 17 doctors, bacteriologists and nurses, as well as Civil Defense personnel to attend to the emergency.
Colombia today reached 659 cases of COVID-19, which constitute a new daily record in the country where the total number of infected is 12,272 and there are 493 deaths.