Coronavirus in Colombia: We look at current Coronavirus statistics in Colombia and the measures taken by Colombia to minimize the threat of COVID-19.

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Colombia on August 12 – a total of 422,519 cases (up +12,066 from August 11) with 13,837 deaths.

Many Medellin Guru readers have asked about the current status of coronavirus in Colombia. So, we look at coronavirus cases in Colombia and compare to other countries in Latin America and look in detail at what measures Colombia is taking.

As of August 12, 2020, at 5:00 pm, according to Worldometers over 200 countries and territories in the world have reported that over 20,746,500 people have contracted COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, known as SARS-CoV2. And over 750,600 people have died from this virus worldwide and over 13,662,000 have recovered.

In addition, there are a number of myths out there about coronavirus that are simply not true. So, we also look at four of these myths in this article.

Editors note, there is a nationwide quarantine in Colombia that began on March 24. Colombia’s initial nationwide quarantine was originally ending on April 13 but it has been extended eight times to September 1:

  1. On April 6, was extended to April 26
  2. On April 20, was extended to May 11.
  3. A third time was extended to May 25
  4. A fourth time was extended to May 31
  5. A fifth time was extended to June 30
  6. On June 23, was extended a sixth time to July 15
  7. On July 7, was extended a seventh time to August 1
  8. On July 28, was extended an eighth time to September 1

So, the national quarantine is now for 160 days.

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Computer generated image of COVID-19, photo by Felipe Esquivel Reed

Coronavirus Cases in Colombia

The first coronavirus case in Colombia was on March 6, 2020 and by August 12, the number of cases had grown to 422,519 cases. The following chart shows a running 6-day average of new coronavirus cases in Colombia daily, so you can see the trend of new daily cases for more than the past month.

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

The following table shows the total number of cases of coronavirus in Colombia in the departamentos (departments or states) in Colombia on August 12, according to INS. Also, the table includes the number of new daily cases on August 12.

The following table also shows the daily COVID-19 testing completed in the departments in Colombia on August 12 and the total tests completed in each department in Colombia on this day.

Coronavirus counts in Colombian departments on August 12 and testing counts on August 12, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) 8/12

Coronavirus counts in Colombian departments on August 12 and testing counts on August 12, source Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) 8/12

In the table above,  we include red departments where total the testing positive rate is 20 percent or higher. Also, we include green departments where the total testing positive rate is less than 10 percent.

Note in the above table, do not assume that new reported daily cases match the new reported daily tests. There can be a lag between reporting new tests and new cases. So, it is not valid to use these daily numbers to determine a daily positive testing rate.

Red Cities in Colombia – Major Increase of Cases in Past 80 Days

In the 80 days from May 26 to August 12, a total of 80 percent of the coronavirus cases in Colombia were in the 27 cities of Apartadó, Baranoa, Barranquilla, Bello, Buenaventura, Bucaramanga, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Envigado, Ibagué, Itagüí, Malambo, Medellín, Monteria, Pasto, Pereira, Quibdó, San Andrés de Tumaco, Santa Marta, Sabanalarga, Sincelejo, Soacha, Soledad, Valledupar and Villavicencio, with the 27 cities in Colombia averaging 4,006 cases per day.

The over 1,100 other municipalities in Colombia not including these 27 cities during the same 80 days averaged 1,011 cases per day.

Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia with the most cases. In addition, Barranquilla, the smaller city than Medellín experienced outbreaks in cases and passed the larger city of Medellín in number of cases.

Also, we added Apartadó, Baranoa, Bello, Buenaventura, Bucaramanga, Cali, Cartagena, Envigado, Galapa, Ibagué, Itagüí, Malambo, Medellín, Monteria, Pasto, Pereira, Puerto Colombia, Quibdó, San Andrés de Tumaco, Santa Marta, SincelejoSoacha, Soledad, Valledupar and Villavicencio to the red city list due to an increase in cases.

The following chart shows a running 6-day average of new coronavirus cases in Colombia along with the 6-day running average in the 27 red cities and the rest of Colombia. Note the red line is the 27 red cities and the blue line is all the rest of the cities in Colombia. And the black line is a running 6-day average of cases for all of Colombia.

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

6-day running average of new daily coronavirus cases in Colombia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

Clearly this chart shows the increase in coronavirus cases in Colombia over these 80 days is primarily due to a substantial increase in cases in the 27 cities of Apartadó, Baranoa, Barranquilla, Bello, Buenaventura, Bucaramanga, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Cúcuta, Envigado, Ibagué, Itagüí, Malambo, Medellín, Monteria, Pasto, Pereira, Quibdó, San Andrés de Tumaco, Santa Marta, Sabanalarga, Sincelejo, Soacha, Soledad, Valledupar and Villavicencio.

The rest of Colombia (blue line) not including these 27 cities has a relatively flat curve of new cases except for starting to increase in the past six weeks.

We have a separate article that looks in detail at the cities in Colombia experiencing a major increase in coronavirus cases.

Coronavirus Cases by City in Colombia

On August 12, the count of coronavirus cases were in the following list of cities and towns in Colombia with the change from the prior day in parenthesis (if any change) and the date of the last case in the city or town according to INS for cities with at least 800 cases

We used to track coronavirus cases in all cities and towns in Colombia but no longer do this, as there are now over 700 cites with cases. And there are over 100 cites and towns with a single case.

Also, there are 27 cities in red in this list that experienced 80 percent the new cases in Colombia in the past 80 days.

  • Bogotá – 146,109 cases (+4,115) – last case on 8/12 – 138,715 new cases in past 80 days
  • Barranquilla – 33,605 cases (+127)  8/12 32,224 new cases in past 80 days
  • Medellín – 31,654 cases (+950)  8/12 31,208 new cases in past 80 days
  • Cali – 27,361 cases (+1,650) – 8/12 – 25,412 new cases in past 80 days
  • Cartagena – 17,643 cases (+129) – 8/12 – 15,494 new cases in past 80 days
  • Soledad – 12,984 cases (+55) – 8/12 – 12,021 new cases in past 80 days
  • Monteria – 7,774 cases (+336) – 8/12 7,725 new cases in past 80 days
  • Santa Marta – 6,252 cases (+226) – 8/12 – 5,976 new cases in past 80 days
  • Sincelejo – 5,831 cases (+71) – 8/12 5,828 new cases in past 80 days
  • Pasto – 5,236 cases (+158) – 8/12 – 5,154 new cases in past 80 days
  • Soacha – 4,948 cases (+297) – 8/12 – 4,760 new cases in past 80 days
  • Bello – 4,489 cases (+92) – 8/12 – 4,436 new cases in past 80 days
  • Villavicencio – 3,987 cases (+227) – 8/12 – 3,051 new cases in past 80 days
  • Cúcuta – 3,838 cases (+292) – 8/12 – 3,748 new cases in past 80 days
  • Valledupar – 3,456 cases (+50) – 8/12 – 3,393 new cases in past 80 days
  • Bucaramanga – 3,206 cases (+191) – 8/12 – 3,183 new cases in past 80 days
  • Itagüí – 3,007 cases (+85) – 8/12 – 3,031 new cases in past 80 days
  • Malambo – 2,483 cases (+11) – 8/12 2,274 new cases in past 80 days
  • Apartadó – 2,469 cases (+46) – 8/12 2,451 new cases in past 80 days
  • Leticia – 2,412 cases (+15) – 8/12
  • Quibdó – 2,364 cases (+23) – 8/12 – 2,278 new cases in past 80 days
  • Buenaventura – 2,227 cases (+6)  8/12 1,979 new cases in past 80 days
  • Ibagué – 2,106 cases (+81) – 8/12 – 1,955 new cases in past 80 days
  • Pereira – 1,924 cases (+123) – 8/12 – 1,753 new cases in past 80 days
  • Baranoa – 1,818 cases (+9) – 8/12 – 1,797 new cases in past 80 days
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 1,811 cases (+10) – 8/12 – 1,302 new cases in past 80 days
  • Envigado – 1,747 cases (+52) – 8/12 1,716 new cases in past 80 days
  • Sabanalarga – 1,642 cases (+30) – 8/12 1,615 new cases in past 80 days
  • Barrancabermeja 1,469 cases (+18) – 8/12
  • Galapa – 1,461 cases (+4) – 8/12
  • Maicao – 1,394 cases (+12) – 8/12
  • Cienaga – 1,328 cases (+13) – 8/12
  • Puerto Colombia – 1,309 cases (+7) – 8/12
  • Popayán – 1,293 cases (+21) – 8/12
  • Ipiales – 1,178 cases (+42) – 8/12
  • Neiva – 1,088 cases (+48) – 8/12
  • Palmira – 923 cases (+52) – 8/12
  • Ituango – 922 cases – 8/9
  • Turbo – 896 cases (+12) – 8/12
  • Sabaneta – 815 cases (+37) – 8/12
  • Chía – 805 cases (+50) – 8/12

Note on August 5, we removed Leticia from the red cities list due to only having 1,214 cases on this date in a period of 80 days.

If you want to see coronavirus case counts in other cities and towns in Colombia you can see this on the Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) website. There is a muncipio tab where you can find detailed coronavirus information by municipality in Colombia.

As of August 12, Bogotá was the city in Colombia impacted most in Colombia by coronavirus with 146,109 cases, which was 34.6 percent of the total cases in Colombia.

Also on August 12, the city with the most cases in Colombia in the previous 80 days is Bogotá with 138,715 cases in the past 80 days. Bogota had 35 percent of cases in Colombia over 80 days, even though Bogotá only has about 16 percent of the total population of Colombia.

Coronavirus Cases in the Aburrá Valley

We also look at coronavirus case counts on August 12 in the 10 municipalities in the Aburrá Valley metropolitan area where Medellín is located with the change from the prior day in parenthesis (if any change) and the date of the last case in the municipality.

  • Medellín – 31,654 cases (+950) 8/12
  • Bello – 4,489 cases (+92)8/12
  • Itagüí – 3,007 cases (+85) 8/12
  • Envigado – 1,747 cases (+52) 8/12
  • Sabaneta – 815 cases (+37)8/12
  • Copacabana – 717 cases (+19) 8/12
  • Caldas – 667 cases (+42) 8/12
  • La Estrella – 593 cases (+21) 8/12
  • Girardota – 224 cases (+8) 8/12
  • Barbosa –129 cases (+8) 8/12

On August 12, the 10 municipalities in the Aburrá Valley had a total of 44,042 confirmed coronavirus cases with less than 9,000 active cases. In addition, the 10 municipalities in the Aburrá Valley averaged 359 cases per day over the 113 days from April 22 to August 12 with a total of 40,591 cases in 113 days.

COVID-19 Testing in Colombia

On August 12, 2020, Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS) in Colombia reported that it had completed a total of 2,023,256 COVID-19 tests in Colombia.

This means that Colombia has completed 39,740 COVID-19 tests per million people in Colombia based on a population of 50.9 million.

We compare this COVID-19 testing in Colombia with several other countries in Latin America as well to the U.S., UK and South Korea in the following table.

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, 8/12

COVID-19 testing in several countries, source of data Worldometer and countries, 8/12

The testing rate for COVID-19 is increasing in Colombia. For the week August 3 to August 9, Colombia averaged 37,388 tests per day. This was up dramatically from the week of May 18-24, when Colombia averaged only 6,917 tests per day. 

In addition, the most tests Colombia has completed in one day was on August 7 with 40,457 tests.

We have a separate article that looks at COVID-19 testing in Colombia in more detail.

More Details on the Coronavirus Cases in Colombia

The following chart shows the current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia on August 12:

Current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

Current status of coronavirus cases in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

On August 12, Colombia had 168,015 active coronavirus cases. The vast majority of coronavirus cases in Colombia are isolated at home and treated at home. Only 10.6 percent of active cases were hospitalized in Colombia on August 12 according to INS out of the active cases that have not recovered or died.

On August 12, 16,210 active and confirmed coronavirus cases were in hospital rooms plus another 1,564 confirmed cases in the ICU for a total of 17,774 cases in the hospital.

But there are also suspected coronavirus cases in the ICU and other patients in the ICU. So, ICU utilization has surpassed 75 percent in some cities and towns in Colombia. We have a separate article that look at coronavirus hospitalization in Colombia in more detail including the capacity of hospitals and ICU rooms in Colombia and utilization of ICUs.

The following chart shows the age distribution of the coronavirus cases in Colombia on August 12:

Age distribution of Colombia coronavirus cases, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

Age distribution of Colombia coronavirus cases, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

In addition, 52.3 percent of coronavirus cases in Colombia on August 12 were male and 47.7 percent were female.

Colombia Coronavirus Death Rate

On August 12, Colombia reported 13,837 deaths from coronavirus, which was a daily increase of 362 reported deaths from the previous day on August 11. Based on a total of 13,837 deaths and a total of 422,519 cases, the overall coronavirus death rate in Colombia among confirmed cases on August 10 was 3.3 percent.

However, the death rate in Colombia varies based on age and we have a separate article that looks at the coronavirus death rate in Colombia by age and compares to other countries.

The following chart shows the daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia by the date deaths were reported by INS.

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

Daily coronavirus deaths in Colombia, source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 8/12

Coronavirus Cases in Other Countries in Latin America and the World

Some of the countries in Latin America have much higher counts of confirmed coronavirus cases than in Colombia on August 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm according to Worldometers:

  • Brazil – 3,164,785 cases, 104,201 deaths
  • Mexico – 492,522 cases, 53,929 deaths
  • Peru – 489,680 cases, 21,501 deaths

The seven countries in the world with the most confirmed coronavirus cases on August 12, 2020 at 5:00 pm according to Worldometers were:

  1. United States – 5,352,446 cases, 168,882 deaths
  2. Brazil – 3,164,785 cases, 104,201 deaths
  3. India – 2,395,471 cases, 47,138 deaths
  4. Russia – 902,701 cases, 15,260 deaths
  5. South Africa – 568,919 cases, 11,010 deaths
  6. Mexico – 492,522 cases, 53,929 deaths
  7. Peru – 489,680 cases, 21,501 deaths

Also, on August 11, Colombia was ranked #23 in the World in terms of coronavirus deaths per million according to Worldometers. Several countries in Latin America had a higher coronavirus death rate per million population than Colombia. The following are country rankings for deaths per million in several Latin American countries from Worldometers on August 11:

  • Peru #5
  • Chile #9
  • Brazil #11
  • Mexico #13
  • Panama #15
  • Ecuador #18
  • Bolivia #19
  • Colombia #23

Many foreign tourists that arrived in Colombia in early 2020 renewed tourist visas to enable staying in Colombia for up to 180 days instead of returning to their home country where coronavirus case counts are much higher and increasing at alarming rates. However Migracion offices are now closed due to the quarantine and tourists in Colombia have to wait until they reopen.

In addition, some of these foreign tourist are pursuing Colombian visas to enable staying in Colombia longer.

What is Colombia Doing About Coronavirus?

On March 19, 2020, President Iván Duque announced that starting on March 23 the arrival of international travelers to Colombia will be suspended for a period of 30 days including banning incoming international flights. This ban includes all travelers including Colombians and foreigner residents.

According to the Minister of transport, international flights will continue to be restricted in Colombia until August 31, 2020.

The following measures were put in place starting on March 12 in Colombia to minimize the public health threats posed by coronavirus.

All events with more than 50 people must be cancelled in Colombia starting on March 16. This impacts many planned events in Colombia. So, many events including concerts, conventions and other large events are cancelled.

In addition, Colombia has suspended the transit of cruise ships to Colombia.  Furthermore, at 5:00 am on March 14 Colombia closed its border with Venezuela Also, starting on March 17, Colombia closed all its land, sea and river borders. The border closure will restrict the entry and exit of Colombia for all nationals and foreigners.

Quarantines in Colombia Due to Coronavirus

Major cities in Colombia including Bogotá, Medellín, Cali and Cartagena were under quarantines over the Saint Joseph’s Day (Día de San José) holiday weekend in Colombia from March 20 to March 24. So, up to about a third of Colombia was locked down during this initial period:

Quarantine for all of Colombia from March 24 to September 1 – 160 days 

President Iván Duque announced at night on March 20 that Colombia will have a mandatory nationwide quarantine from Tuesday, March 24 at 11:59 pm, until Monday, April 13 at midnight.

But this quarantine in Colombia has been extended eight times and is now until September 1. So, the national quarantine in Colombia is now for 160 days.

Also, President Duque tweeted that “Essential activities, such as access to health services, purchase of food and medicine, access to banking and postal services, provision of essential public services and security services, among others, will be guaranteed.” We have a separate article about the quarantine in Colombia.

Flatten the coronavirus case curve, source CDC

Flatten the coronavirus case curve, source CDC

Why Quarantine and Other Measures? – Flatten the Curve

With a nationwide quarantine, Colombia is trying to avoid a rapid spike of coronavirus cases that could overwhelm the health care system in Colombia by “flattening the curve,” or spreading out the number of coronavirus cases over a longer period.

Mitigation efforts like a quarantine, cancelling international flights, closing places where people congregate and limiting the size of events and quarantines are mitigation efforts that can reduce the number of daily cases and reduce pressure on the healthcare system in Colombia.

Colombian acted faster than most countries in putting in place measures to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

The following table compares how many days from the first case of coronavirus in several countries until putting in place measures like closing schools nationwide or closing incoming air travel.

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

How many days from first coronavirus case in countries until put in place preventive measures, March 23, 2020

What is Coronavirus and How Does it Compare to the Flu?

Coronavirus or COVID-19 is a respiratory illness that can spread from person to person. The virus that causes COVID-19 is a new coronavirus that was first identified during an investigation into an outbreak in Wuhan, China.

The virus is thought to spread mainly between people who are in close contact with one another (within about 6 feet).

It also may be possible that a person can get COVID-19 by touching a surface or object that has the virus on it and then touching their own mouth, nose, or possibly their eyes, but this is not thought to be the main way the virus spreads.

Myth 1 – If you have coronavirus, “you will know”

Not really, COVID-19 causes a wide range of symptoms, many of which are common in other respiratory illnesses such as the common cold or flu.

Common symptoms of COVID-19 include a fever, cough and difficulty breathing, similar to other respiratory illnesses. And rarer symptoms include nausea, dizziness, vomiting and a runny nose.

In severe cases of COVID-19, the disease can progress into a serious pneumonia-like illness — but early on, infected people may show no symptoms at all.

The virus causes mild respiratory infections in about 80 percent of those infected, though up to half will have pneumonia. Another 15 percent develop severe illness, and about 5 percent need critical care.

Myth 2 – Coronavirus is less deadly than the flu

Reportedly the COVID-19 coronavirus has a transmissibility rate estimated from 2.0 to 2.5 people that an infected person typically makes sick. This compares to the flu (influenza) with a transmissibility rate from 1.3 to 1.8 people. And SARS has a transmissibility rate from 2 to 4 people.

Case-fatality ratio is the number of people killed by disease divided by the number of people confirmed to catch it. Seasonal flu, technically kills a relatively small proportion of its cases, with a case-fatality ratio of around 0.1 percent.

The reason the flu is a major public health problem is because it infects many people, 35.5 million in the U.S. from 2018 to 2019, which led to 490,000 hospitalizations and 34,200 deaths.

SARS had a case-fatality rate of 10 percent, about 100 times higher than influenza, and the rate for the new coronavirus case-fatality rate is reportedly about 3.4 percent of reported cases.

Myth 3 – Children and young adults are more likely to die from coronavirus infections

The China CDC reported on February 11 based on data from 72,314 cases of those diagnosed with COVID-19 and found that older adults in China have been hit the hardest by COVID-19:

  • 14.8 percent death rate for those infected with ages 80 and older,
  • 8 percent for ages 70 to 79,
  • 3.6 percent for ages 60 to 69,
  • 1.3 percent for 50 to 59,
  • 0.4 percent for the age group 40 to 49,
  • 0.2 percent for people ages 10 to 39,
  • No deaths in children under 9 reported.

We have a separate article about the coronavirus death rate in Colombia with death rates being experienced in Colombia by age.

How Can You Protect Yourself?

According to the CDC in the U.S.:

People can help protect themselves from respiratory illness like COVID-19 with everyday preventive actions.

  • Avoid close contact with people who are sick.
  • Put distance between yourself and other people if COVID-19 is spreading in your community.
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose, and mouth with unwashed hands.
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds.
  • Use an alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available.

Also, if you are sick to keep from spreading respiratory illness like coronavirus to others you should:

  • Stay home when you are sick.
  • Cover your cough or sneeze with tissues, then throw the tissues in the trash.
  • Clean and disinfect frequently touched objects and surfaces.
  • Wear a face-mask if you are sick and around other people.
Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Flyers at Hartsfield-Jackson Atlanta International Airport wearing facemasks as the COVID-19 coronavirus spreads, photo by Chad Davis

Myth 4 – Face masks can protect you from the virus

Standard face masks cannot really protect you, as they are not designed to block out viral particles and they do not lay flush to the face. A more specialized mask, known as an N95 respirator, can protect against the virus.

According to the CDC:

Face masks are loose-fitting and provide only barrier protection against droplets, including large respiratory particles. Most face masks do not effectively filter small particles from the air and do not prevent leakage around the edge of the mask when the user inhales.

The role of face masks is for patient source control, to prevent contamination of the surrounding area when a person coughs or sneezes.  Patients with confirmed or suspected COVID-19 should wear a face mask until they are isolated in a hospital or at home.

So, a standard face masks can’t really protect you from the virus. But China and other countries in Asia have using face masks widely. George Gao, Director-General of the Chinese Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) even said:

The big mistake in the U.S. and Europe, in my opinion, is that people aren’t wearing masks. This virus is transmitted by droplets and close contact. Droplets play a very important role—you’ve got to wear a mask, because when you speak, there are always droplets coming out of your mouth. Many people have asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic infections. If they are wearing face masks, it can prevent droplets that carry the virus from escaping and infecting others.

If everyone wore a mask, then those in public who are asymptomatic or pre-symptomatic would not so easily spread to others.

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Colombia has 24 of the Best Hospitals in Latin America

Healthcare in Colombia

Colombia has 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America, according to a study in late 2019 by América Economia. So, 41 percent of the best hospitals in Latin America are found in Colombia. Nine of these best hospitals in Latin America are located in Medellín and nine are in Bogotá.

In 2017, Colombia had 20 of the top 49 clinics and hospitals in Latin America. And in 2018, Colombia had 23 of the top 58 hospitals. So, the count in 2019 has increased to 24 of the top 58 clinics and hospitals in Latin America for 2019.

In addition, the World Health Organization (WHO) ranks Colombia’s healthcare system as #22 out of 191 countries it ranked. And no other countries in Latin America were ranked higher than Colombia. So, according to WHO, Colombia has the best healthcare system in Latin America.

Also, Colombia’s healthcare system is ranked higher than many wealthier countries like the United States (#37), Germany (#25), Canada (#30) and Australia (#32).

In Colombia, it is possible to have access to world-class healthcare at a fraction of the cost compared to the healthcare costs in North America or Europe. Furthermore, the costs for healthcare in Colombia can be significantly lower than the costs found in the U.S.

Due to having the best healthcare system in Latin America, Colombia is probably better positioned than many other countries in Latin America to handle coronavirus.

Health Insurance in Colombia

Health insurance is relatively inexpensive in Colombia and will cover you if you happen to catch COVID-19.

One of the reasons that Colombia has such a highly rated healthcare system is due to a new constitution that Colombia drafted in 1991 that made access to healthcare a basic human right to all citizens of Colombia, as well as foreign residents of Colombia.

There are three types of health insurance available in Colombia:

  1. EPS – Entidadas Promotoras de Salud– this is the public health insurance that is mandatory for everybody who is a resident of Colombia. The monthly premium is calculated as 12.5 percent of the monthly gross income that you declare to the EPS.
  2. Prepagada – this is private healthcare insurance in Colombia. The monthly premium for Prepagada varies depending on your age, the plan you choose and any pre-existing conditions.
  3. SISBEN – this is a free government subsidized healthcare system, which is only for very poor or homeless Colombians.

Medellin Guru has partnered with an insurance broker to offer health insurance and other insurance products like life insurance, homeowners insurance and auto insurance to foreigners and Colombians.

We partnered with Angela Berrio, who is a bilingual insurance broker who speaks English and Spanish. And she has many foreigner clients.

Use the Medellin Guru Insurance Service

Angela’s company offers insurance services to all foreigners and Colombians who need assistance in their process of finding the best insurance protection while living in Colombia. With over ten years of experience, they design the plan that best fits your needs allowing you to enjoy your life abroad.

Number to Call in Medellín if You Think You Have Coronavirus

Medellín uses the 123 emergency phone number for coronavirus reports.

People who in the last two weeks have been in countries where the virus circulates, and who have symptoms such as cough, fever, nasal congestion and muscle fatigue, or who have been in contact with patients who meet with the above criteria can call this emergency number.

Medellín asks residents to make responsible use of this single line of emergencies, and also recommends consulting EPS health insurance websites.

Medellin Guru’s Coronavirus Series

Medellin Guru has a series of articles about the coronavirus pandemic and the impacts in Colombia: Also, these articles are being kept up-to-date, as this is a fast-moving topic:

The Bottom Line: Coronavirus in Colombia: Current Status

The bottom line is that Colombia had 422,519 coronavirus cases as of August 12, 2020. This is why several cities in Colombia had quarantines that started on March 20 and Colombia is doing a nationwide quarantine in Colombia that started on March 24 until September 1.

Colombia closed its border faster than other countries have done to help prevent the spread of coronavirus. It remains to be seen how effective these measures will be in Colombia.

Coronavirus is a fast-moving topic. So, Medellin Guru expects to update this popular article daily.

Sign up for the Free Medellin Guru Newsletter – You can see all of the previous Medellin Guru weekly email newsletters and sign up here.

Editors note: updated on August 3, 2020 at 7:35 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 2.

Editors note: updated on August 4, 2020 at 7:35 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 3.

Editors note: updated on August 5, 2020 at 7:35 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 4. Also, added Sabanalarga to the red problem cities list and removed Galapa.

Editors note: updated on August 6, 2020 at 6:00 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 5. Also, added Envigado and Ibagué to the red problem cities list and removed Leticia.

Editors note: updated on August 7, 2020 at 7:10 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 6.

Editors note: updated on August 8, 2020 at 7:15 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 7. Also, added Pereira to the red problem cities list.

Editors note: updated on August 9, 2020 at 6:30 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 8.

Editors note: updated on August 10, 2020 at 7:55 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 9.

Editors note: updated on August 11, 2020 at 7:20 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 10.

Editors note: updated on August 12, 2020 at 7:00 am with current coronavirus case counts for August 11.

Editors note: updated on August 12, 2020 at 10:00 pm with current coronavirus case counts for August 12.

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