Colombia extends national quarantine to July 1

Colombia was initially set to end its nationwide quarantine today, but it has extended the deadline for the fifth time

Masked residents of Colombias capital Bogota

Photo: Reuters/Luisa Gonzalez

Colombia was initially set to end its nationwide quarantine today, but it has extended the deadline for the fifth time to July 1.

The extension leaves Colombia with one of the longest mandated quarantine periods in the world, but comes with more flexible rules regarding the quarantine itself. Certain municipalities less affected by the virus have been permitted to shorten their quarantine and implement their own rules.

Public transport and domestic flights will remain barred as Bogota tries to restrict movement. Since the lockdown began, Colombia has seen an increase in violence towards activists, and paramilitary groups have strengthened their presence in the state. With restricted movement, activists have seemingly become easier targets for non-state rebel groups.

Violence between the FARC (a left-wing guerrilla group that staged Latin America’s longest insurgency) and activists has been a commonality in Colombia since the peace deal signed in 2017. Due to the current health crisis, the security measures in place for activists, such as government-provided armoured cars or security details, have become less effective.

The continued violence has led to criticism of President Ivan Duque, as leaders feel that he has disregarded Colombia’s critical issues to focus on the COVID-19 pandemic. As Colombia continues to navigate a nearly 100-day quarantine, concerns about the organised violence maybe prompt the state to reassess its priorities.

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