Things That Matter

Colombia Has Been Under The World’s Longest Lockdown But Has It Helped Contain The Virus?

Colombians have been under strict lockdown orders for more than 150 days – since March 6 to be exact. What many thought would last a couple of weeks or months at most has now become one of the world’s longest running Coronavirus lockdown orders.

The strict quarantine has started to take its toll on Colombians’ mental well-being as reports of depression and loneliness skyrocket. And, according to many health experts, the intended effects of the lockdown – keeping Coronavirus at bay – have been questionable as Colombia has experienced one of the worst outbreaks of the virus in Latin America.

Colombia has been under one of the world’s longest running lockdown orders to combat the pandemic.

Colombia is on course to have one of the world’s longest Coronavirus lockdown orders after President Iván Duque decreed an eighth extension of Obligatory Preventive Isolation to August 30.

“Obligatory preventative isolation, as the general concept, will continue until August 30,” Duque said in his nightly broadcast.

The issue of Decree 749 came hours after he addressed the nation highlighting the country’s positive epidemiological data of COVID-19 in comparison with countries in the hemisphere and around the world.

Having initiated strict quarantine on March 25, Colombians braced themselves for the possibility a two-month lockdown when on April 13 an additional two weeks were decreed, then on April 27, another extension to May 11. A week before that deadline, President Duque extended yet again, to May 25, and date many citizens considered as a final decision before easing the country back into economic productivity for all. But that easing back to a new normal never came as Coronavirus cases began to spiral out of control across the country.

Bogotá has been hit particularly hard and will likely extend the lockdown even further.

Credit: Luisa Gonzalez / Getty Images

Bogota, the Colombian capital, will hold a strict two-week quarantine in seven neighborhoods beginning Sunday, as it tries once again to curb coronavirus infections amid still-high intensive care unit occupation rates.

Occupation in the city’s ICUs has fallen gently from more than 90% to around 87%, the mayor said. Bogota has continued to add ventilators to its hospital system throughout the pandemic.

“The (health) system never collapsed, even though it had high occupation, thanks to the care we took, thanks to face masks, thanks to distancing, thanks to hand-washing and thanks to the focused quarantines,” Lopez said. “The efforts of the last six weeks were not in vain.”

The neighborhoods of Usaquen, Chapinero, Santa Fe, Candelaria, Puente Aranda and Antonio Narino, which are highly vulnerable to more infections and rapid spread, will be under the renewed lockdown from Sunday to Aug. 30 – which is also when the national lockdown order is finally expected to end.

However, the country was one of the first in the region to initiate a plan to combat the virus’ spread, so what happened?

Colombia instituted a strict country-wide lockdown order starting on March 6, the day that the country saw it’s first confirmed case of Coronavirus. The lockdown order was so strict that Colombia effectively sealed itself off from the rest of the world – closing its airports and land borders to everyone, including Colombian citizens who were hoping to return home.

In cities, only one person from each household was allowed to leave the home to do essential shopping, visit pharmacies, seek medical care, or go to an ATM or bank.

At first, the policy seemed to be working. Countries from Brazil to Mexico saw case numbers spike as Colombia’s stayed relatively flat. But that all started to change in June. Now, Colombia has seen almost 500,000 confirmed cases and 15,372 people have died.

Things have become so volatile that local cartels have implemented their own lockdown orders – and killed those who don’t obey.

Credit: Luis Robayo / Getty Images

Across Colombia, heavily armed cartels have introduced their own Coronavirus lockdown measures and “justice” system for those who break quarantine orders. To date, a least nine people have been killed for either refusing to adhere to the hardline restrictions or for daring to speak out against them.

The worrying news was revealed by experts from the campaign group Human Rights Watch (HRW). José Miguel Vivanco, HRW’s Americas director, said the shocking developments are down to the failure to keep control over swathes of Colombia after decades of in-fighting.

“In communities across Colombia, armed groups have violently enforced their own measures to prevent the spread of Covid-19,” he said. “This abusive social control reflects the government’s long-standing failure to establish a meaningful state presence in remote areas of the country, including to protect at-risk populations.”

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The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

Things That Matter

The President Of Mexico Has Tested Positive For Covid-19 After A Year Of Downplaying The Virus

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Since the very beginning of the worldwide Coronavirus pandemic, Mexico’s President Andres Manuel López Obrador (AMLO) has largely downplayed the severity of the crisis. Despite record-setting deaths across Mexico, the president continued to hold large rallies, rarely uses face masks and continues to be very hands on with his supporters. Many of his detractors grouped him in with Donald Trump and Brazil’s Jaír Bolsonaro in his poor response to the pandemic.

Mexico’s President AMLO has tested positive for Covid-19 and is experiencing light symptoms.

In a tweet on Sunday evening, AMLO revealed that he had tested positive for the Covid-19 virus. From his official Twitter account, he said his symptoms were mild and that he was receiving medical treatment.

“I regret to inform you that I have contracted Covid-19. The symptoms are mild, but I am already receiving medical treatment. As always, I am optimistic. We will move forward,” Lopez Obrador wrote.

Despite his diagnosis, the president plans to continue business as usual. He plans to continue with his duties from the Palacio Nacional, which include conducting a planned phone call with Russian President Vladimir Putin on the topic of Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine Monday. He added on Twitter, that “I will be conducting all public affairs from the National Palace. For example, tomorrow I will take a call from President Vladimir Putin, because irrespective of friendly relationships, there is a possibility that they will send us the Sputnik V vaccine.”

AMLO has taken a very hands off approach to his country’s response to the Coronavirus pandemic.

AMLO, 67-years-old, has rarely been seen wearing a mask and continued to travel extensively across the country aboard commercial flights – putting both his health and those around him at risk.

He has also resisted locking down the economy, noting the devastating effect it would have on so many Mexicans who live day to day. And because of that, Mexico has one of the highest death rates in the world. Early in the pandemic, asked how he was protecting Mexico, AMLO removed two religious amulets from his wallet and proudly showed them off.

“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,’” AMLO said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”

In November, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, head of the World Health Organization, urged Mexico’s leaders be serious about the coronavirus and set examples for its citizens, saying that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic.

Meanwhile, Mexico continues to experience the worst effects yet of the global health crisis.

Credit: Ismael Rosas / Eyepix Group/Barcroft Media via Getty Images

Thanks to a lack of national leadership, Mexico is one of the 17 countries that has reported more than one million cases of Covid-19. Since early October, newly confirmed cases and deaths have been reaching record levels, with recent daily numbers some of the highest since the beginning the pandemic.

According to Johns Hopkins University, Mexico has recorded at least 1,752,347 Covid-19 cases and 149,084 people have died from the virus in the country.

In hardest-hit Mexico City, nearly 30 public hospitals report they have reached 100% percent capacity, and many others are approaching that mark. The city’s Mayor, Claudia Sheinbaum, has urged residents to not go out unless absolutely necessary. In December, Mexico City and the state of Mexico were placed into “red level,” the highest measure on the country’s stoplight alert system for Covid-19 restrictions. The tighter measures included the closure of indoor dining, with only essential sectors like transport, energy, health and construction remaining open.

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These Are The Top YouTube Workouts To Try At Home To Help Keep Those Resolutions

Entertainment

These Are The Top YouTube Workouts To Try At Home To Help Keep Those Resolutions

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With the official start of 2021 – which will hopefully be so much better than 2020 – the desire to be physically fit and achieve that “beach body” (whatever that is) is at a seasonal high. Whether due to a new year’s resolution to get in shape, stay active, lose weight, or simply be more healthy, people are looking for ways to feel and look good despite being under stay-at-home orders.

Across the country, gyms are still closed thanks to the pandemic and many of us are looking for new ways to follow those fitness goals. Enter YouTube: it’s full of incredible, free workouts that are sure to get you motivated. Here are some of our favorites:

The Fitness Marshall

If you’re like me and hate working out, then The Fitness Marshall may be your answer. Fitness guru Caleb Marshall combines hit pop songs — like “Heat” by Kelly Clarkson and “Pony” by Ginuwine — with dance moves that help you break a sweat and have fun doing it. 

Fitness Blender

Run by husband-and-wife team Daniel and Kelli, Fitness Blender is a simple yet great channel. All of their videos are filmed with a white background so you can actually focus on what they’re doing. They have more than 600 full-length workout videos, and more than 150 of those are HIIT (High Intensity Interval Training) to get your body moving and blood pumping. All workouts range from 5- to 45-minutes. While some videos require some basic equipment, many can be done with your body weight alone.

Popsugar Fitness

Filmed in a fitness studio with at least three people, the channels feels a bit like an old-school ’80s workout video, without the signature fashion and hair of course…but it does bring that fun group attitude right to you. The channel has different categories: beginners, HIIT, dance cardio, plus workouts targeted at different body parts. You can also choose a class based on length (10 minutes, etc.) Plus, they have a section full of no equipment cardio workouts so you can get your heart rate up without leaving the house

The Body Coach

The Body Coach (aka Joe Wicks) believes that everyone should be able to work out, no matter their fitness level or budget. The channel has more than 250 videos, including challenges, time-based workouts, and workouts for specific body types. There’s a new HIIT workout every week. One of the coolest parts of the channel is that it also has workout for kids, including a daily P.E. class that might be very helpful for any parents who have basically started homeschooling their kids.

Blogilates

No list of YouTube fitness channels is complete without Blogilates. This widely popular channel has close to 4.5 million subscribers and focuses on POP Pilates, PIIT28 and Bootcamp Sculpting. If you have no clue what those are, don’t worry. You don’t need to understand it to enjoy these workouts.  

Certified fitness instructor Cassey Ho’s friendly demeanor makes laying on a mat and working your core, legs, arms and butt almost enjoyable.

Flightmaster Yoga

This channel is not about being a perfect yogi. The motto of the channel is “It’s not about the pose.” All Lesley Fightmaster wants from you is to show up and do your best. She has a number of full-length yoga practices for anyone at any level. You can start with the for beginner videos and then work your way up to 30-minute practices45-minute hatha practices, and full 1-hour practices. The tone is supportive, comforting, and non-judgemental. Show up and try your best to see what happens.

Roberta’s Gym

Think of Roberta’s Gym as the Alexa of exercising. This animated trainer doesn’t really have a personality, but her on-screen timers and rep counters help you keep track of what you’re doing better than any humanoid.

BullyJuice

Despite the name, this instructor isn’t a bully at all. He offers up super motivational videos that anyone can do from the comfort of their home. And he keeps it simple: 20 minute full body workouts that require no equipment. Yes, some of the workouts will kick your ass but what do they say? No pain, no gain!

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