Latin America News – Bogota’s Second Lockdown Is Normality For Some; Hunger For The Rest


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By Anastasia Moloney

BOGOTA, Colombia, Weds. July 15, 2020 (Thomson Reuters Basis) – Avenue vendor Angel Torres was beginning to see the sunshine on the finish of the tunnel as Colombia’s capital Bogota eased four-months of coronavirus restrictions which had left his household hungry.

However the earnings from his job promoting face masks is now in jeopardy attributable to a second lockdown imposed on lots of the metropolis’s poorest neighborhoods amid a surge in new infections.

“Except I can… persuade the police on the street blocks to let me by to work, we don’t have another choice however to eat much less,” stated the 53-year-old who gives for his aged mom, sick sister, spouse and two teenage youngsters.

“I don’t understand how we’ll survive if I can’t earn any cash,” stated Torres, who settled in a hillside slum in south Bogota after being displaced by Colombia’s civil warfare in 2001.

Makes an attempt to stem the unfold of COVID-19 in Latin American cities from Bogota to Panama have exposed disparities between men and womenand the gradual re-shutting down of sure metropolis districts is displaying the profound methods through which completely different neighbourhoods delineate wealth and alternative.

With Bogota’s hospitals overwhelmed and a predicted coronavirus peak in mid-August, town’s mayor, Claudia Lopez, has imposed a renewed lockdown in elements of the capital with the very best an infection charges which can be principally dwelling to town’s poor.

Torres who lives in Usme – a slum filled with shacks constructed from brick, wooden and scrap steel – is one in all eight districts which have gone beneath quarantine.

The measures will have an effect on the lives of about 2.three million individuals in a metropolis of eight million.

One other 4 neighborhoods are set to start lockdown on July 27 and a last three enter quarantine on Aug. 10.Folks, carrying masks, prepare dinner in the midst of a discipline that, in response to the mayor’s workplace, is at excessive danger of collapse and its inhabitants will likely be evicted, amid the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak in Bogota, Colombia Might 15, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

INFORMAL WORKERS

Bogota is a metropolis starkly divided by the wealthy neighbourhoods of condominium blocks and gated communities of the north and the hillside slums of the south and west.

Many of the areas going through renewed quarantine are dwelling to slum dwellers and town’s most susceptible, together with Venezuelan migrants and lots of and 1000’s of households displaced throughout Colombia’s 52-year warfare that led to 2016.

Some districts being locked down are dwelling to pockets of the center class and rich.

In poor neighbourhoods, many can’t afford to remain at dwelling. They’re a part of an unlimited casual financial system made up of cleaners, maids, road sellers and builders who depend on day by day cash-in-hand earnings to purchase meals and pay lease.

Residents in quarantined districts are being ordered to be at dwelling from eight p.m. till 5 a.m., and just one individual per family can buy groceries throughout the neighborhood for necessities every day.

Throughout Bogota, motion can be restricted primarily based on residents’ ID card numbers and carrying face masks is necessary for all exterior their houses.

A whole bunch of law enforcement officials have been deployed throughout the quarantined districts, closing off neighborhoods by establishing test factors, barricades and yellow tape.

“The quarantine was carried out by sectors to reduce the financial impression,” mayor Lopez informed native media this week, who enjoys approval rankings of almost 70%.

Small companies, together with hair salons, web cafes and automobile restore retailers, which had reopened just a few weeks in the past have closed their shutters as soon as once more.

In Santa Fe, Bogota’s red-light district, armed army police carrying white protecting clothes now stand on quiet road corners as an alternative of intercourse employees.Evicted individuals choose up the stays of their houses throughout an eviction operation, amid the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak in Bogota, Colombia Might 14, 2020. Image taken Might 14, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

INEQUALITY

Throughout Colombia, at the very least 5,500 individuals have died from COVID-19 and 155,000 circumstances have been reported. Neighbouring Brazil, the world’s No. 2 coronavirus sizzling spot after the US, has registered at the very least 1.eight million confirmed circumstances.

In Bogota, almost 50,000 individuals have examined constructive for COVID-19, stretching hospitals to the restrict the place intensive care items have reached 90% capability, well being authority figures present.

But in Bogota’s prosperous northern neighborhoods the place the wealthy and center class stay in condominium blocks and gated communities with guards exterior, COVID-19 an infection and neighborhood transmission charges are typically low and day by day life has largely been unaffected by the brand new lockdown measures.

But poor neighborhoods and sprawling slums have become COVID-19 hotspots attributable to a scarcity of entry to sanitation and healthcare providers and poor diet whereas cramped housing makes social distancing nearly unimaginable.Folks, carrying masks, are seen on a discipline that, in response to the mayor’s workplace, is at excessive danger of collapse and its inhabitants will likely be evicted, amid the coronavirus illness (COVID-19) outbreak in Bogota, Colombia Might 15, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

5 districts beneath contemporary lockdown, together with Ciudad Bolivar – an unlimited mountaintop slum the place some residents accumulate rainwater in buckets as a result of they lack working water – account for greater than half of all circumstances in Bogota.

To assist town’s poorest, Mayor Lopez has pledged authorities support to 700,000 residents dwelling in freshly quarantined areas, of which 550,000 individuals will obtain a one-time money switch of about $70 – equal to a couple of quarter of the minimal month-to-month wage – whereas the rest will get meals parcels.

Sandra Reyes, who lives within the northwestern district of Suba, worries how she is going to put meals on the desk when her neighborhood goes into full lockdown in 4 weeks’ time.

Since she misplaced her job as an workplace cleaner because of the pandemic in April, she has been taking two buses involving a 90-minute journey along with her younger daughter and nephew to achieve a wealthy neighborhood the place she begs at site visitors lights.

“I didn’t should beg earlier than. Now I do. I depend on individuals to offer me something – garments, meals and cash,” the 32-year-old stated.

“I don’t know what I’ll do when the brand new quarantine begins. I’ll have to avoid wasting meals now. I’m taking it daily. I pray to God for this to finish,” Reyes stated.

(Reporting by Anastasia Moloney; Modifying by Tom Finn.)

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