“The call to society is that, at this time, we adopt preventive measures with responsibility…. This pandemic must unite us as a country. Let us understand that these decisions, severe as they may seem, are made for the well-being of all.” — Colombian President Iván Duque
March 21st, 2020
· Keeping the Country Safe: The Duque Administration has implemented a series of preventive measures to protect Colombian residents and visitors and slow the coronavirus pandemic:
o President Duque has appointed a manager to coordinate Colombia’s response to the pandemic. Luis Guillermo Plata has extensive experience, including as a former Commerce Minister and president of the ProBogotá Foundation and ProExport.
o A nationwide mandatory self-quarantine will be in effect from Tuesday, March 24 until Monday, April 13. Exceptions will be made for medical personnel, security forces and workers at pharmacies and supermarkets.
o Inbound international passenger flights will be suspended beginning Monday, March 23 for 30 days.
Colombian citizens visiting or attending events abroad are urged to return to Colombia before Sunday, March 22 at 11:59 p.m.
o All national flights will be suspended beginning, Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 p.m. and until Monday, April 13.
o People aged 70 and older have been asked to remain inside their homes until the end of May.
o Land and water borders are closed.
o Classes at schools and universities have been suspended.
o Entertainment and leisure venues, including bars, will remain closed for the duration of the quarantine.
· Helping People and Families: Measures to protect the health and well-being of Colombian residents include:
o Accelerated VAT refund payments will start in April, benefiting 1 million Colombians.
o Reconnection of water service to 250,000 families, which benefits 1 million people, who had it disconnected due to lack of payment.
o Liquidity support for hospitals for better response capacity nationwide and particularly in the areas hardest hit by COVID-19.
o Access to and home delivery of cards with allowances for pensioners to allow them to avoid having to go to bank offices in person.
· Supporting Businesses and Rural Workers: The Duque Administration has also implemented a series of economic support mechanisms, including:
o A grace period on mortgages and other loans for micro-, small- and medium- sized firms during the emergency months as well as refinancing extensions. These firms make up more than 90 percent of the national business network and contribute 40 percent to GDP.
o USD $250 million in credits for the agricultural sector, with low interest rates and 5-yr grace periods to guarantee income to rural workers and ensure continuity of food availability.
o A special line of credit for the tourism and aviation sectors(COP $250 billion).
o A ‘Colombia Responds’ line of credit for entrepreneurs with links to the tourism and aviation sectors (up to COP $3 billion for small companies and COP $ 5 billion for large companies).
o A line of guarantees to allow companies to keep their payrolls going during the period of the economic emergency.
o Elimination of VAT for the import of health products and technology.
“As a Government, we have taken drastic measures to confront the coronavirus pandemic. We must understand that our discipline saves lives, and it is time to collaborate. We value the great work of health professionals; they deserve all our recognition.” — Colombian President Iván Duque
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