Colombia expands reopening as coronavirus cases stabilize
BOGOTA, Colombia (AP) — Airports, bus terminals, restaurants and gyms reopened in most of Colombia on Tuesday as the South American nation attempts to reignite its economy following months of restrictions for the coronavirus pandemic.
The step expanded previous moves that allowed shops, construction sites, shopping malls and factories to resume operations in June in most of the country's cities.
Hospital occupancy rates and deaths from the new coronavirus have stabilized across much of Colombia over the past 10 days, prompting the national government to lift more of the emergency measures that had been in place for five months, including a ban on most people from traveling within the country.
Bogota’s El Dorado airport opened to passengers flying domestic routes for the first time since March, and long lines formed outside bus terminals around the country.
“I’m going to see my family. It's been too long without them,” said Sara Rivas, a university student who arrived at Bogota's bus terminal with a backpack and three large suitcases.
Rivas lost her part time job at an office supplies store two months ago, but had not been able to leave Colombia’s capital due to restrictions on domestic travel.
Officials said international flights are expected to resume later this month and land borders could open in October as the country enters a new phase of the pandemic, in which most businesses will be allowed to open but will have to enforce health security protocols.
“We are not returning to things how they were before (the pandemic),” President Ivan Duque said in a nationally televised program Monday night. “Nobody can let their guard down and all of us must protect each other.”
Under Tuesday's reopening, municipal governments will be allowed to impose...
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