Coronavirus in Medellin, Colombia
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Apr 01, 2020 Update
We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. She replied...
So far everything is OK for me
Over 70 years old are quarantined until abt May 30. Helper for over 70 years old can work for the person
Everyone can go for groceries, banking, emergencies - one person at a time per household. Early shopping, i.e. 7:00 am, for seniors is good. Take out from restaurants available. Taxis are running.
Markets are open and well stocked considering the circumstances. Masks, alcohol, hand sanitizer hard to find, toilet paper now available in markets. Persons in market are limited so sometimes one has to wait in line to get in; they sanitize your hands with spray when you enter, handle of cart if you ask. Beginning April 1, depending upon the last number of your cedula (residency card, local id card) a person can shop two days per week for groceries, banking. There are more details, this is it basically... I see no difficulty with this, in fact, it really is a way to help suppliers and groceries to manage providing food to over four million people who live here.
When I went go grocery store and was in line with distancing, someone got in line in front of me, it was easily solved as he just wasn't used to social distancing and the fact it happens in grocery lines and it is easy to misread the space for being available as opposed to get in line behind me. Happened twice, we are all learning how to do this, no prob.
People starting up ways to provide food for unemployed, donate, they deliver to needy areas. Gov't is providing some food assistance to needy families/children in school
VERY STRICT POLICING ON BEING OUTSIDE, HELICOPTERS (Black Hawks), POLICE CARS WITH LOUD SPEAKERS ON THE SPOT. BIG FINES, REPEAT OFFENCES LEAD TO JAIL AND/OR DEPORTATION. THEY ARE NOT JOKING AROUND HERE!
How People are Coping
We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? She replied...
Probably about as expected, some very well, some OK, some cabin fever. Learning curve now, WhatsApp has slowed a lot past two days, fairly quiet now.
Changing Conditions as coronavirus Spreads
We Asked: How has the situation changed as the Coronavirus has spread? She replied...
Colombia has been very smart in that it began its offense early and has been extremely strict and fast in maintaining adherence so the spread is much better under control with fewer new cases and deaths.
We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. She replied...
Excellent government management so disease seems to be becoming under control. However, it is because of strict compliance to gov't directives and the people know how to work together quite well.
Supplies and Shortages
We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? She replied...
No for citizens, I don't know about medical. They have prepared extra hospital areas last week if needed in order to not overwhelm medical system... lots of pre-planning and prep. They are doing everything they can to be prepared.
Preparing for the Future
We Asked: What are you doing in terms of preparations in case the situation deteriorates in your location? She replied...
I have a food supply which I keep up, try to stay current on local goings on, the social communication network here is helpful. I am aware that things could change, pray they don't. I also donate money to priest to buy food for those who don't have any, he sends me pictures of food delivery that day. Keep paying the woman who helps me as well. Other folks are paying the people who help them as well.
Lockdown & Passing the Time
We Asked: Are you staying home? If so, how are you passing the time?
Yes, I have been home almost two weeks, only go out for groceries. I have a schedule: walk, coffee, check media, pray, listen to spiritual music on youtube, housework, play with cats (2), computer word game, study Spanish, visit with friends on phone, watch TV, hope to start sewing. Do some stretching, sit in sun on balcony, dream, pray and express thanks that I have a roof over my head and food. I can see, I can hear, I can feed myself, I can walk, I can do this!
Public Healthcare & Public Hospitals
We Asked: Are you enrolled in the public healthcare system where you live? Do you feel that the public hospitals are handling or preparing for the Coronavirus outbreak effectively? She replied...
Absolutely on both
Private Health Insurance & Private Hospitals
We Asked: Do you have private health insurance? If you have private insurance, does this give you access to private hospitals? Are private hospitals or clinics better prepared, less prepared, or the same? Please explain. She replied...
Private US health insurance, trouble getting it to pay sometimes, both hospital groups are well prepared. Generally here in Medellin, all of us believe the Colombian health care is of much higher quality than US. Much!
Hospital of Choice for Coronavirus Treatment
We Asked: Would you choose a public or private hospital if you needed treatment for Coronavirus? Why? If there is a specific hospital that you would go to in the event of severe illness? Which hospital and why? She replied...
To me, I believe all hospitals are fine, however, I know my Colombian friends have their favorites. I would check with them and listen and follow through.
We Asked: Are you considering returning to your home country due to the Coronavirus? Would this be a temporary move or a permanent repatriation? Please explain. She replied...
No, we all believe we are better off here. Some families in US say stay here.
Advice for People Outside of Medellin, Colombia
We Asked: If you live in an area already heavily affected by coronavirus, what advice would you share with others elswhere in the world who may be facing the same challenges in the future. She replied...
Due to government management, no place here is overwhelmed. People listen to and do what the government asks them to do, they really do. They follow directives. People who were in the countryside have come back to town because they think resources might be better. Some people got stuck in holiday towns and the local government would not let them come back because they thought the visitor would not stay inside. The first weekend of quarantine a lot of people got in cars to go to the small towns outside Medellin and the small towns would not let them in, so when they all had to turn around and come back to Medellin the police stopped over 100 cars and gave them tickets for violating the quarantine. The fines for these tickets and violating are quite high. The second or third offense can involve lengthy jail sentences or deportation is applicable. Again, this country has deported at least 7 people that I know of, visitors from other countries who did not uphold the entering two week quarantine... three from Spain, two from Italy and I don't know the specifics on the other two. A person should really not underestimate this government, if you are a visitor in quarantine, they keep track of you, find you if necessary and render the consequences. My advice, be an asset to your host country, do what they ask you to do.
How Government is Treating Expats
We Asked: How is the government of the country where you are currently living treating expats during this time? Have there been any changes or extensions made in terms of residency and and other visa renewals, applications and requirements? Has access to public healthcare been eased? Please describe any types of changes (positive and negative) that are taking place. She replied...
I have seen no changes whatsoever. One note, at a grocery store I went to last week, the girls at the door who sanitized my hands and cart upon entering and leaving did not have happy looks on their faces. That was unusual because this population is wonderful and friendly. When I went back last Saturday, there were men at the door giving entry and the girls were behind him sanitizing. All was well.
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