Colombia’s government announced the unpopular measure like closing the border with Venezuela amid coronavirus epidemic. In addition, the Latin American country intends to stop visitors who have been in Europe or Asia from entering Colombia, President Ivan Duque said late on Friday.
The Colombian leader said the country is locked from five o’clock Saturday morning for anyone from the Venezuelan side. To tight the control over coronavirus, not residents or nationals and have stayed in Europe/Asia during the last two weeks banned from entering to Colombia from Monday.
Amid coronavirus fast spreading over the Latin and North America, Venezuelan situation remains uneasy. Its health sector almost collapsed, while hyperinflation and a six-year recession have caused millions to flee the country. Some 1.7 million Venezuelans have fled to Colombia in recent years.
Previously, Colombia had asked visitors from France, Spain, Italy and China to self isolate for two weeks after their arrival. Although the border with Venezuela will be closed, Duque said Colombia’s border with Ecuador will remain open, with health checks and controls in place.
On Thursday, the Andean country has declared a health emergency in which it suspended public gatherings of more than 500 people – including the football league – and blocked cruise ships from docking at its ports.
“In the face of this pandemic we must come together as a country and we must all also take the precautions that correspond to us as individuals,” Ivan Duque said.
Colombia doesn’t want visitors from Venezuela
Venezuela reported its first two cases of coronavirus on Friday amid concerns that the country, which is facing a social and economic crisis, is not able to confront the pathogen.
As the Colombian government said, the state of emergency will last until May 30. That period allows the country to take quick and exceptional steps relating to the epidemic, such as directing financial resources.
Venezuelan Vice President Delcy Rodriguez criticized Duque’s decision to close the border between the two neighbouring countries as “an act of gross irresponsibility.”
“(Duque) is handing the borders to Colombian paramilitaries to dodge the necessary epidemiological and sanitary controls that the crisis warrants,” she said on Twitter.
As Reuters reported, more than 138,000 people have been infected globally in the outbreak of coronavirus originated in China while over 5,000 have died.