Colombian President Ivan Duque announced strict measures Sunday to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus, including blocking entry to the country to all except citizens and residents and shutting schools as the number of confirmed cases rose to 34.
Nationals and residents who arrive from overseas will have to undergo mandatory preventive isolation for 14 days.
"I would like to inform the country: as of March 16th, non-national and non-resident entry to Colombia is restricted. All Colombian passengers and foreign residents will have mandatory preventive isolation for 14 days," Duque wrote on his Twitter account.
On Friday, the government decided to restrict the entry of people from Europe and Asia, but because there are more than 100 countries where cases have been reported, it was extended to any foreigner.
Other measures adopted so far by the government include the closure of the border with Venezuela, the reconnection of water services to people who, due to lack of payment, have been cut off and shutting down the public school system to prevent the virus from spreading.
“As of Monday, children who attend public education institutions in the country will no longer have face-to-face classes in order to protect everyone’s health,” he wrote.
Four foreigners -- two Spanish nationals and two French nationals -- were expelled from the country Saturday for violating self-isolation rules. Hotel employees informed Migración Colombia, the country´s Migration Agency, that these individuals had ignored the mandatory self-isolation period.
"All citizens coming from Europe have to comply with the mandatory isolation. Otherwise, they will be expelled,” the agency said in a statement.
Similar decisions have been taken in other countries in the region. Ecuador, where the death toll rose to two, will close its borders starting Monday.
After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 135 countries and territories.
The global death toll is now more than 5,300, with more than 142,000 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which has declared the outbreak a “global pandemic.”Anadolu Agency website contains only a portion of the news stories offered to subscribers in the AA News Broadcasting System (HAS), and in summarized form. Please contact us for subscription options.