Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle? Medellin Guru
Are Medellin and Antioquia winning the coronavirus battle? Over 35 days an average of only 17 coronavirus cases per day were reported in Antioquia.

Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?

Are Medellin and Antioquia winning the coronavirus battle? Over a period of 35 days an average of only 17 coronavirus cases per day were reported in Antioquia.

Medellín and Antioquia appear to be doing a good job of containing the growth of coronavirus in the second largest city in Colombia and in the department of Antioquia in Colombia where Medellín is located.

Medellín on May 26 had fewer coronavirus cases than several other cities in Colombia and is adding cases at a slower pace over the past 35 days (April 22 to May 26):

  • Bogotá –  7,743 cases – 6,011 new cases from April 22 to May 26 (35 days)
  • Cartagena – 2,220 cases – 2,034 new cases in past 35 days
  • Cali – 2,089 cases – 1,541 new cases in past 35 days
  • Barranquilla – 1,576 cases – 1,495 new cases in past 35 days
  • Leticia – 1,494 cases – 1,488 new cases in past 35 days
  • Villavicencio – 935 cases – 881 new cases in past 35 days
  • Soledad – 892 cases – 871 new cases in past 35 days
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 514 cases – 506 new cases in past 35 days
  • Medellín – 470 cases – 506 new cases in past 35 days

Bogotá is the largest city in Colombia with the most cases. Villavicencio has been experiencing a major outbreak of coronavirus in a prison and there has been an outbreak of cases in the Amazon (Leticia).

In addition, four smaller cities than Medellín (Cartagena, Barranquilla San Andrés de Tumaco and Soledad), experienced outbreaks in cases and passed the larger city of Medellín in number of cases.

Also, Antioquia has fewer coronavirus cases on May 26 than in the departments of Bogotá DC, Atlántico, Valle de Cauca, Boliva, Meta and Amazonas.

  • Bogotá DC – 7,743 cases
  • Atlántico – 3,019 cases
  • Valle del Cauca – 2,673 cases
  • Bolivar – 2,378 cases
  • Amazonas – 1,534 cases
  • Meta – 972 cases
  • Antioquia – 933 cases

Coronavirus Cases in Antioquia Current Status

Colombia Ministerio de Salud (Ministry of Health) reported the number of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 26 – a total of 933 cases with 6 deaths.

The first coronavirus case in Antioquia was on March 9, 2020 and by May 26, the number of cases had grown to 933.

The following chart shows the number of new coronavirus cases in Antioquia daily over a period of more than one month:

New coronavirus case counts in Antioquia daily, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/26

New coronavirus case counts in Antioquia daily, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/26

The peak of new coronavirus cases in Antioquia was reached on May 25 with 141 cases. However, this daily chart has ups and downs from day to day. So, to see a trend over the past month it is better to look at a rolling 7-day average of new coronavirus cases:

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Antioquia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

7-day rolling average of new daily coronavirus cases in Antioquia, data source: Instituto Nacional de Salud, 5/24

This rolling 7-day average chart shows that on average, the number of new cases started to drop in Antioquia after reaching a peak and dropped to where it averaging about four new cases per day before increasing to a new peak due to outbreaks in a few towns.

The following table shows the status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 26 according to Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS):

Status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 26, Source: Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), bold are municipalities in the Aburrá Valley

Status of coronavirus cases in Antioquia on May 26, Source: Instituto Nacional de Salud (INS), bold are municipalities in the Aburrá Valley

On May 26, a total of 36 municipalities in Antioquia had coronavirus cases reported according to INS but only 18 of these municipalities still had an active case (isolated at home, in the hospital or in an ICU room).

A total of 612 of cases (66 percent) in Antioquia on May 26 were located in Medellín and the Aburrá Valley. Also, in Antioquia on May 26, a total of 524 cases were active according to INS. And only 12 cases in Antioquia were in the hospital or ICU with all of those in the Aburrá Valley.

According to DANE, 58.4 percent of Antioquia residents are concentrated in the Aburrá Valley, which contains only about 2 percent of the department geographically. In the Aburá Valley, and average of 3,341 people live per square kilometer.

The rest of Antioquia is more sparsely populated and averages only 44 people per square kilometer, which helps to explain why cases in Antioquia are mostly concentrated in the Aburrá Valley.

Increase in Cases in Antioquia Over the Past Week

Antioquia has experienced an increase in coronavirus cases in the past week from May 19 to 26. More than half of the cases in this week can be attributed to the outbreaks at the EPM Hidroituango dam project and military bases in three municipalities in Antioquia.

On May 22, EPM reported that according to analysis by Universidad de Antioquia, there were 28 infected workers on May 22 from CCCI Consortium, a contractor on the Hidroituango dam project.

And by May 25, a total of 143 cases from the Hidroituango dam project were confirmed. Most of these EPM cases are located in the Ituango municipality near the dam.

In addition, a second major outbreak in Antioquia is concentrated in military bases in the municipalities of Turbo, Apartadó and Carepa in Antioquia. The majority are members of the Colombian Navy and the Army who were on a ship that traveled the Atrato river in humanitarian work and delivered aid to communities.

The military outbreak of cases includes 48 located in Carepa, 17 in Turbo and 14 in Apartadó in Antioquia.

Without the two outbreaks at the dam and military outbreaks in three municipalities, Antioquia averaged 20 cases per day in the week from May 19 to 26, which was higher than the previous week. In addition to the two outbreaks, the increase was likely due to more people being out with some sectors of the economy starting to return to work.

Furthermore, in Medellín in two days during this week, there were reportedly 30 cases in comuna 2 (Santa Cruz) and comuna 13 (San Javier). These 30 cases correspond to only three family groups that were likely visiting each other over Mother’s Day. And 16 of these cases in Medellín were in a single family.

Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?

The national quarantine in Colombia appears to be more effective in Medellín and Antioquia than in many other cities and regions in Colombia. Over the 35 days from April 22 to May 26, an average of only 7.8 coronavirus cases per day were reported in Medellín and only 17 cases per day in Antioquia.

Medellín and Antioquia have now been under quarantine for over 60 days.

Medellín experienced much fewer cases per day on average than in several other cities in Colombia over the period from April 22 to May 26:

  • Bogotá – 171.7 cases per day on average
  • Cartagena – 58.1 cases per day
  • Cali – 44.0 cases per day
  • Barranquilla – 42.7 cases per day
  • Leticia – 42.5 cases per day
  • Villavicencio – 25.1 cases per day
  • Soledad – 24.9 cases per day
  • San Andrés de Tumaco – 14.5 cases per day
  • Medellín – 7.8 cases per day

In the 35 days from April 22 to May 26, a total of 79 percent of the coronavirus cases in Colombia were in the eight cities of Barranquilla, Bogotá, Cali, Cartagena, Leticia, San Andrés de Tumaco, Soledad and Villavicencio, with the eight cities in Colombia averaging 423 cases per day. The rest of Colombia during these same 35 days averaged only 115 cases per day.

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

One differentiator is Pico y Cedula that restricts shopping in the populous Aburrá Valley based on the last digit of your ID. Bogotá doesn’t use Pico y Cedula and instead uses a different scheme that is based on gender but the gender -based shopping scheme in Bogotá ended on May 11.

A few other large cities in Colombia including Cali, Cartagena and Barranquilla have Pico y Cedula but reportedly started their schemes later than in the Aburrá Valley, which started using Pico y Cedula in early April.

Jardín, one of over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Jardín, one of over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Over 100 Municipalities in Antioquia Permitted to Lift the Quarantine

On May 21, over 100 COVID-19 municipalities in Antioquia reportedly were also given permission to lift the mandatory quarantine. But none of these municipalities are located in the Aburrá Valley.

Each of the mayors of these municipalities must decide whether to accept the proposal and issue an administrative act authorizing the reopening of establishments and companies, except for the following:

  1. Events of a public or private nature that involve crowding of people.
  2. Leisure and amusement, dance, leisure and entertainment and gaming and betting establishments and commercial premises such as casinos, bingos and video game terminals.
  3. Gastronomic establishments and establishments will be closed and will only be able to offer their products through electronic commerce, home delivery or take-out delivery.
  4. Gyms, swimming pools, sports fields, sports centers, mechanical amusement parks and playgrounds.
  5. Sports practice and group exercise in public parks and recreation areas, contact sports or practiced together.

Luis Fernando Suárez, Secretary of Government of Antioquia, said that this is the result of a request made by Antioquia Governor Aníbal Gaviria to the Ministry of the Interior.

The draft delivered to the mayors of the municipalities proposes to maintain the protection and prevention measures and implement pico y cedula to control purchases and bank transactions, permitting only one person per family to leave for those tasks.

Also, restaurants can open but only to provide home delivery or to sell products for take away. Restaurants are not allowed to have tables and consumption on site.

Other sectors such as hairdressing salons and car washes should also have special hours. The proposal is to allow them to operate from Monday to Saturday starting at 6:00 am in shifts to serve one client at a time and avoid crowds.

In addition, it was proposed that each mayor in Antioquia enact a curfew between 8:00 pm and 5:00 am while the emergency lasts, and that a prohibition of liquor consumption in commercial establishments is maintained.

Furthermore, 22 health checkpoints were implemented on the main routes of entry to the subregions in the Antioquia department, with the aim of avoiding contagion from other areas of the country or from the Aburrá Valley.

Jericó: another pueblo in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

Jericó: another pueblo in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case

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: Is Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?

Medellín and Antioquia may be winning the coronavirus battle. The number of cases in Antioquia have averaged only 17 cases per day over the 35 day period from April 22 to May 26. Also, there are over 100 municipalities in Antioquia without a single coronavirus case.

With the quarantine and other measures, Medellín and Antioquia have contained the virus and appear to be keeping COVID-19 at bay.

The bottom line is the measures that Colombia and Antioquia have put in place in response to the coronavirus pandemic have resulted in new coronavirus cases starting to drop in Antioquia. In addition, the spread of coronavirus throughout Antioquia was prevented with over 100 municipalities without a case.

In over 100 COVID-19 free municipalities in Antioquia, many closed places will be permitted to open, with some exceptions such as billiards, casinos and discotheques, churches, parks, gyms and sporting events.

Watch carefully the number of new cases reported in Colombia daily. Each day we update our popular article about coronavirus in Colombia with the current coronavirus statistics for Colombia, Antioquia and Medellín. Will new cases  remain low or drop lower in Medellín and Antioquia or will they increase as they did in the past week?

Also, watch the COVID-19 testing numbers in Colombia. We update our popular article about COVID-19 testing in Colombia daily. If COVID-19 testing numbers continue to increase, this is a very good thing, as this will help identify more of those who are infected in Colombia.

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 May 10, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 9.

Editors note: updated on May 12, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 12.

Editors note: updated on May 25, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 24.

Editors note: updated on May 27, 2020 with coronavirus case counts and data from May 26.

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43 thoughts on “Are Medellín and Antioquia Winning the Coronavirus Battle?”

    1. The economy is opening up in stages and with thought and caution. There is no magic on switch and many of us living here are in complete agreement with how we are proceeding. Thank God we have a methodical president who wants to avoid us becoming another Brasil. Have patience and faith in the leadership here. Many of us do. This is indeed frustrating and we are navigating in uncharted waters. Erring on the side of caution seems prudent to me. I have friends in the USA who would like the airport to reopen tomorrow and return to their party town as if all were honky dory. Well that ain’t gonna happen as soon as they would like and honestly speaking this virus has sobered up this town and forced us to seek pleasure at home with family. I think it has provided us with an opportunity to reevaulate our lifestyles and indiscretions. This Sodom and Gomorrah town may never be quite the same again. How refreshing.

    2. If Medellin has so few cases it’s rediculious they haven’t opened the economy back up.

    3. Mickey Atkinson May 25, 2020

      What I would like to see is Virus deaths, against Murder, Car /Moto death and suicides’. One weekend Bello had over 30 murders?

      • Sorry, very difficult to research data for all of Antioquia for murders, car/moto deaths and suicides.

    4. Shawn May 21, 2020

      Hi Jeff – I am hoping you can help me. My student visa expires on June 17th and I don’t want to take a humanitarian flight back to NYC and into the heart of this Coronavirus situation. My plan is to go to Argentina when both countries lift this International travel ban. I have heard that if you are on a tourist visa you can overstay your expiration date these days we have been quarantined- is this the same with a student visa? Just wondering what my options are. Thanks so much for any insight you may have. Shawn

      • Best to ask the visa agency we partnered with, click on this link for the visa agency and there is a chat at the bottom right – https://expatgroup.co/english/visasincolombia/

        • Will there be pico y cedula in effect for next week? From what I can determine no notificatipn has been posted and today is Friday.

          • Yes, no notification that I have seen. I looked today and no pico y cedula schedule to be found.

            So, will it be another last minute announcement like in the past, the night before it starts?

            We will update our article about pico y cedula when we find a new schedule – https://medellinguru.com/pica-y-cedula/

            • It is a simple matter to generate and post the numbers in advance in order to allow people to prepare. I fail to see the logic behind waiting until the day before. Oh well. All we can do is wait and see.

            • Agree, they should post the schedule in advance to let people plan.

              It is not like they didn’t have time. The quarantine was extended 3 days ago and everyone knows the current Pico y Placa schedule ends on Sunday.

      • We are all faced with rhe inability to obtain visa renewals, cedula renewals and exiting Colombia to remain on compliance with visa extensions. When migraciin and the government will reopen and gove us clear instructions and deadlines we are in a boat without a paddle. My cedula expires ib 2 weeks. All i know is it will remain active and legal until Migracion opens up to process my renewal. All we can do is stay tuned for updates provided by reliable sources like Medllin guru and the Colombian office of Migracion and the Colombian consulate which has a website available in English and Spanish. Expatgroup can help to renew visas etc when they are able to process the paperwork required. At this precise moment in time we are all in limbo and are powerless to proceed. Stay tuned to daily uodates and President Duques nightly 6:00pm advisories. Good luck to all of us and stay safe and avoid getting a fine for violating the decree guidelines.

        • Shane May 25, 2020

          Hi Jeff. Doing a great job mate. Its a big ask to be running a blog like this one . Just wondering Will you be updating your information on Medellin soon as its still referring to May 12 . Thanks again

          • Yes, plan to update the article today or tomorrow, There has been an increase in cases in Antioquia and Medellín but this is partly due to a major outbreak at the big EPM dam project.

          • Article is updated with data up to May 24.

    5. Martin May 20, 2020

      On further investigation, it appears the Weather Channel app is reporting cases and deaths in Colombia, not just Antioquia.

      What sources support your reporting?

    6. martin studer May 20, 2020

      It is hard to reconcile your reporting with WHO and other reports of covid-19 in Antioquia.

      For example, the Weather Channel app, one of several that provides information about covid-19 cases and deaths in cities around the world, reports that as of today Antioquia has 16,295 confirmed cases and 592 deaths.

      Can you reconcile that with your reporting?

    7. Tomas May 16, 2020

      With such inconsistent testing methods even in first world countries number of cases is meaningless without mentioning how many overall tests within a period (weekly?) vs a similar prior time period, taking into the number of patients receiving a test who showed symptoms as a % of tests administered.

      Without this the numbers of tested positive means practically nothing.

    8. Nice article and hope the quarantine ends soon in Medellin.

    9. Whats the problem in Bogota – lack of personal responsibility? especially the high density poor areas and V migrants? or because of international travellers, they began with more spreaders?

      Masks and sanitizer not provided to everyone and enforced? as we know it spreads by just breathing and talking (Are they in Antioquia?) SALUDOS

      • Initially up to 80 percent of cases in Colombia reportedly were traced back to the Bogotá airport. So, Bogotá started with more spreading the virus.

        • Bogota ended PICO Y GENRE (Gender) May 11 but today declared lockdown in 5 hotspots (called Orange Zones). One zone is right above my condo’s area. scary.


          If Bogota can’t get it under control, that means borders won’t reopen? Or MDE will reopen first to international travel ?? (and all airports should put in strict controls and testing of all international passengers)

          • Yes, Bogotá ended Pico y Gender but locked down hotspots. Bogotá is one of 7 “red cities” we are tracking with 3,280 new cases in past 24 days – see: https://medellinguru.com/coronavirus-in-colombia/

            The red cities are responsible for 78 percent of new cases in Colombia in the past 24 days.

            We will see what opens up first, who knows…

          • Here in Medellin terminal north and south are closed outbound and inbound. I think and from what has just been decreed all entering the city will be mandated to self quarentine for 15 days. I believe the powers that be here will reopen the city and the country when they feel accurate testing is available and we all have been vaccinated. This is a complicated situation here in Colombia as the powers that be are determined to have it their way. It is what it is and we are at the mercy of those in charge. We are guests here no matter what our visas may say. Hope for the best and expect anything and everything. Glad we have Medellin Guru to keep us abreast of breaking news and accurate stats.

    10. Michael Oles May 8, 2020

      THERE IS only 1/25 th of one per cent of the population as confirmed cases with 60 per cent in Bogota and yet they still want to keep extending the quarantine. Well as I see it there are more and more people working at non essential services out and about with authorities turning blind eye….this will never get to zero unless every person is vaccinated and that will never happen….so let us have a plan to normalcy for what ever that means.

      • Actually Bogotá has 38 percent of cases, see – https://medellinguru.com/coronavirus-in-colombia/.

        The national quarantine policy in Colombia is not tenable. The quarantine is bringing about crippling economic consequences and will likely cause serious health consequences including hunger for the poor in Colombia.

        IMHO a nationwide quarantine is not sustainable and feasible over a long-term. Colombia should consider pursuing a mitigation strategy that protects those most at risk from the virus (the elderly) while freeing up the economy. The combination of case isolation, household quarantine of those at higher risk of severe outcomes (older individuals and those with other underlying health conditions) are the most effective policy combination for epidemic mitigation.

        At least Colombia has recognized that it has well over 800 municipalities without a single coronavirus case. So, these municipalities can start to return to some normalcy.

      • There are segments of the population entire compliant and responsible and others who are complete disregard and contempt for authority and will defy face mask requirements and social distancing. The rebels make it bad for.those who choose to comply out of respect for their lives, the lives of their familied and friends and coworkers. As long as those who refuse to even moderately become willing to comply with common sense precautions we will be living with draconian measured initiated by health care professionals and government. There are those out there who are determined to live with total disregard for any decrees no matter how rational those decrees sound. The knee jerk reaction here is to fight fire with fire i.e. the curfew about to go into effect tomorrow at 5p , just before mothers day. How sad it has come to this. We can thank those who feel they are above the law. Anarchy is NOT the best policy.

    11. Harry May 8, 2020

      Hi Jeff, thanks for the update, looks as if things are slowly turning a corner, at least in Antioquia.
      Out of curiosity: What is your expert opinion/educated guess as to when flights from North America (Canada) will become again possible (preferably without having to self-quarantine upon arrival).
      Cheers Harry

      • 3rd or 4th week of October is my guess. That may sound unthinkable but thats my honest opinion. Perhaps Jeff may offer a different time frame, but this is a very complicated time, especially while people continue to contract the virus and die. The lack of tests and no vaccine in sight will play heavily on authorities reopening the borders. Have patience. Colombian doctors are VERY VERY conservative and believe it is dangerous to rush to judgements. Colombia is not going anywhere, lets allow the powers that be to do their best to save lives. Isn’t that the first consideration??

        • Colombia and other countries in the world are facing a dilemma. Epidemiologists and health experts recommend that people must distance themselves from each other to save many lives. But implementing that strategy with a quarantine locks down the economy and will cause mass unemployment and countless failed businesses and other consequences.

          • Sometimes the treatment is more dangerous than the disease. As we see in cancer patients who go through chemo and radiation. Society and.government need to strategize. Just as some people who contract corona Will survive or die, it will be the same for businesses and economies. Only the strong survive on earth. Every scenario has its strengths and weaknesses. We are damned if we do and damned if we don’t. To find a win/win solution is nearly impossible. There are going to be arguments on both sides and the decisons being made can mean the difference between life and death and bankruptcy and solvency. Pray for test kits. A viable Vaccine and calm and cool and well thought out decrees that make good sense. A tall order.

            • I think Colombia may be starting to realize the “treatment is more dangerous than the disease” which is why you are starting to see things start to open back up. Opening up COVID-19 free areas is a good move IMHO.

          • Russel May 9, 2020

            Those are some of my thoughts too. Some Colombians already struggle as is. These lockdowns gonna cause a lot to starve. Surprised more looting hasnt started yet

    12. Absolutely true.

    13. Being the second largest city in Colombia we will be the last to enjoy the total restoration of freedom. It goes with the territory. We are doing much better than many other big cities around the world.

    14. Lawrence Robert Rose May 8, 2020

      Jeff… Thanks again. This is heartening news… but I would understand it if Jerico, for example, didn’t let me in since I live in Medellin. Lots of reasons not to let me in besides that though… grinzz. Then again, the town fathers of Jerico etc need my tourist pesos… so how will they find the balance?

      One more… what is the current end date for quarantine for geezers like me? The 25th of May, or as it was before, the end of the month?? THANKS BRO! and WTG in Sabaneta!!!

      • Currently travel between cities and pueblos isn’t permitted during the quarantine unless you have special permission (I have heard it nearly impossible to get) or are doing a permitted activity. Also, I am sure some of the health control posts are when you leave the Aburrá Valley so wouldn’t get far.

        Quarantine is currently scheduled to May 25 but may be extended – https://medellinguru.com/colombia-quarantine/

        • We all would love to escape Medellin even if just for a day or two to enjoy some fresh air and change the scenery. This is very painful and stressful. Feels like we are living in a Leper Colony with no way out or in. When will this nightmare end? Imagine just a night out at a restaurant with the family and a bottle of wine. I pray one day that will once again become a reality instead of a dream. I used to love to board the metrocable and go to Parque Arvi, something that was such a little sweet respite from the city. A wonderful day fillled with cool temps and pristine air. Seems like a fairy tale now. Wow. I pray for a miracle for us to be released from this pergatory. I Have faith that this will all be over sooner than later.

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