Colombia: Reactivating the economy while following biosecurity protocols, according to the local authorities’ discretion
Following the suggestions made by the ILO, the Colombian government has focused its efforts on generating measures aiming at the ILO’s four pillars: 1) Stimulating the economy and employment, 2) supporting enterprises, jobs and incomes, 3) protecting workers in the workplace, and 4) relying on social dialogue for solutions. Therefore, and following the actions suggested by the World Health Organization (WHO), Decree 1168 created a new phase to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic called the “Selective Isolation and Responsible Individual Distancing” phase, from the 1st of September until the 30th of the same month, 2020. Basically, this approach to tackle the virus implies a self-care and self-protection.
During this phase, everyone in the country shall follow the biosecurity protocols established by the Ministry of Health and Social Protection. In this regard is important to highlight the Programme for Tasting, Tracking and Sustainable Selective Isolation – PRASS (by its Spanish acronym) created by Decree 1109 of August 10, 2020, under which some entities in the country shall execute the proper actions to slow down the speed of the COVID-19 transmission rate: testing, tracking and isolation. Among those actors, the employers of the health sector, along with the Occupational Risk Administrators (ARL by its Spanish acronym), shall regularly take samples and run COVID-19 tests on their employees and any other individual working in his facilities (like cleaning, security and other support services).
The national government prohibited three activities in the whole country: 1) public or private events that could imply crowds (over 50 people), 2) the opening of bars and clubs, and 3) alcoholic drinking in public spaces, and in food services establishments. In addition, local and municipal authorities could restrict more activities and certain areas, zones, and households, according to the variations of the COVID-19 infection rates. In fact, through Decree 193 the Mayor of Bogota has coined the “New Reality” program under which the economic reactivation is the goal. The main idea of the new program is avoiding crowds by stablishing four-day weeks by sectors, trying to reduce the number of people using the public transportation system at the same time.
Finally, the domestic flights are allowed as of the 1st of September and international flights are planned to be opened on the 1st of October (Resolution 1517 of 2020). According to the protocols, everyone shall present before boarding a negative result for the COVID-19 test taken within the 48 hours prior to departure. On the other hand, land, sea and river borders remain closed during this phase.
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