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Colombia’s Hospitals Near Capacity as Paramilitaries Enforce Coronavirus Lockdowns with Violence

HeadlineJul 17, 2020

In Bogotá, Colombia, doctors are demanding a citywide lockdown as a surge of COVID-19 cases overwhelms hospitals. This is Dr. Herman Bayona, president of the Colombian Medical College.

Dr. Herman Bayona: “Emergency services are overcrowded. In some places, respiratory rooms are at more than 150% occupancy. And that concerns us a lot. We are very close to collapse. Even in emergency wards, there are patients on respirators that are waiting to be transferred to intensive care.”

Elsewhere in Colombia, illegal armed groups have been enforcing their own quarantines in areas with limited government control, threatening civilians who fail to comply with orders by paramilitaries. Human Rights Watch reports at least nine people have been killed for defying the measures, with some residents barred from leaving their homes even if they are sick.

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