July 29, 2020 / 12:31 AM / 6 days ago

Colombia coronavirus quarantine to be extended until Aug 30

FILE PHOTO: People wearing face masks walk down a street during the government-mandated quarantine to lower the rates of contagion from the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bogota, Colombia July 27, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia’s national lockdown to curb infections of the new coronavirus will be extended by one month until the end of August, President Ivan Duque said on Tuesday.

The Andean country has reported more than 267,300 coronavirus cases and 9,074 deaths.

“Obligatory preventative isolation, as the general concept, will continue until August 30,” Duque said in his nightly broadcast.

This is the eighth time the lockdown has been extended. Duque declared a national lockdown in late March to slow the spread of coronavirus across the Andean country.

Municipalities with little or no coronavirus infections will continue reopening, Duque said, while avoiding gatherings of large groups. Areas with high infection rates have maintained more stringent quarantines.

“We all understand that during these four weeks we have to continue making a great effort to protect ourselves,” Duque said.

Capital city Bogota imposed two-week quarantines on certain neighborhoods with one person per household allowed to shop within the neighborhood for essentials each day. The first two-week period has ended and the measure is being applied to different neighborhoods.

Latin America’s fourth-largest economy has been battered by the measures taken to slow the spread of coronavirus and a slump in oil prices.

The government expects the economy to contract by 5.5% this year. The country has suspended its fiscal deficit limits for 2020 and 2021 and issued billions in bonds as unemployment rises and businesses close during the quarantine.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin and Nelson Bocanegra; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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