COVID-19 Update: Colombia

Colombia – FECODE (Colombian Educators’ Federation)

We have been hearing from our partners in Latin America about their own struggles in the face of the COVID-19 pandemic. Here is an excerpt from recent postings by Jose Hidalgo Restrepo Bermeo, Coordinator of the “Schools of Territories of Peace” Project being implemented by CoDev’s partner FECODE.

Please accept this fraternal greeting. I am writing this evening from my apartment and want to encourage you to follow self-isolation and preventative care measures as laid out by the authorities and health care professionals.

This is a time for action. The immediate and urgent tasks we must undertake are to take care of each other by taking actions that will impede the progress of this virus. We need to understand the complexity of this crisis and act with critical, creative, responsible and serious knowledge.

In Colombia there are more than 1,000 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and Bogota is the most impacted city with 472 of these cases. Seventeen people have died as of April 1, 2020. There is total confinement but it has been very complicated due to the high levels of poverty. There are Venezuelans without work, street vendors, the informal economy, businesses that have laid off or discharged workers without pay, and renters that have been evicted.

While not in Bogota, other regional governments have implemented a type of ID card system [“pico y cedula”] in order for people to move freely and make their basic food purchases,according to the last digit of their ID card. As of last Friday, teachers are on vacation until April 20, and there is no way of knowing if isolation measures will continue after that time. In Bogota, the school calendar has not changed and; teachers are working on classes from their homes.

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