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Expat Coronavirus Update

Santander/Bucaramanga

By saiid20

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SantanderBucaramanga

Oct 02, 2020 Update

We Asked: What is currently happening with regard to the Coronavirus outbreak in your area? Please provide as much detail as possible. He replied...

Numbers are slowly starting to recede. Restrictions which started in Mid March were slow to loosen... we still have a nightly curfew here in Santander and can only shop for groceries on either odd or even numbered days. Malls are now pretty much open as well as some restaurants.. the ones that haven't gone under.

How People are Coping

We Asked: How are people handling the situation in your area? He replied...

Some people in the blog seem to pride themselves if they can somehow scam the system. Others, like me, try to follow the rules regardless of our approval or not... We are still guess here and should comport ourselves as such.

Government Response

We Asked: Describe how the government of the country about which you are reporting is handling this situation. He replied...

Colombia has a fragile health system at best. Some very good quality hospitals and doctors but not nearly enough to handle a fast moving epidemic...ie, what happened in NY State... lots of Covid... very fast... So... strict lockdowns and other restrictions were in place early and lasted seemingly forever.. We now have had a medium to high number of infections, with a relatively small number of deaths.The curve was flattened here.

Supplies and Shortages

We Asked: Is there a shortage of supplies in your location? He replied...

None that I'm aware of. We still can't get a real bagel here... but that's not the fault of Covid

Travel Restrictions and Related COVID-19 Testing

We Asked: Are non-citizens allowed to travel to your country? Describe travel restrictions, COVID-19 testing requirements and any details about traveling into your country. He replied...

Just starting to open up now... of course negative tests are necessary. But as far as I know, no quarantine is imposed. Since travel has just opened up, numbers of flights and destinations are a bit sparse... Both national airlines have declared bankruptcy but continue operate.

Health Insurance Requirements

We Asked: Is health insurance required when traveling into the country? Is it required when applying for residency? Is this a new requirement since COVID-19? Describe the health insurance requirement. He replied...

Sorry. Have not heard of mandatory insurance. The national EPS insurance system is not mandatory. For the first 2 classes the poor... free health coverage... real basic stuff... is provided free of charge

COVID-19 Testing

We Asked: How easy or difficult is it to get a COVID-19 test locally? Where can you get tested? Do you need to have symptoms or a prescription from a doctor? Describe the process. He replied...

Going thru EPS system.... one to two day wait for the test... 4 to five day wait for the result. no charge. Not sure about symptoms... you should show proof of being around an affected person

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? He replied...

As said before... flattening the curve has helped the strain on equipment such as ventilators ICU beds.... I think in our state of Santander we reached mid 8' percent capacity at the worst. Yes I'm enrolled in the EPS system and am happy with the care I've received.

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. He replied...

none....people can always pay full price ..still pretty cheap... for medical care. bout the only real difference is absolutly no wait time....

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? He replied...

Since, if you get it, there's not a whole lot can be done for you.. no miracle cures or vaccines yet... I'd probably go with the public system. Maybe the floors are quite as shiny.... all secondary to me.

Residency & Visa

We Asked: Are new residency applications being processed? Have there been any changes or extensions made in terms of residency and other visa renewals? He replied...

None processed... also, if anything expires, it really doesn't... period of grace in effect. Have heard its soon about to change though.

Future Outlook

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. He replied...

Seeing the way things have gone in the US, I'm just as glad to be here in Colombia... really.

Expat Health Insurance in Colombia

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