Isolation Drill Report in Bogotá (Day 1)

“It is a day to save in all our memories! It was historical! We did something that we didn’t know how to do, and we did it in a very successful way, people stayed home and joined the isolation drill and we have very positive results and very good learning” This is how Claudia Lopez, mayor of Bogota started giving us the report, you can watch the video in Spanish here.

– 7 Million people stayed home and followed all the recommendations of the mandatory quarantine drill, very few people were on the streets.
– We had 2000 trained to do surveys in the 20 localities that Bogota has, verifying who went out and who didn’t and why.
– We were able to reduce the buses operation (Transmilenio) by 88% (much better than the 50% we expected).
– There were 5 activities that were authorized for reasons of force majeure, medicins, health care, public order, etc.
– We monitored the journey by phone, through social media and physically in the streets, understanding why the people that were on the streets, were out.
– 46% of people that went out was because they had to go to work, so they were authorized. 28% went out to buy food, so keeping bakeries, convenience stores and supermarkets is necessary. 13% of the people went out for medical reasons, because they had medial appointments, emergencies, etc. 7% were buying medicine. Close to 6% of people were taking their pets out.
– The 99.6% of people that were surveyed on the streets and by phone stated that they agree with the isolation drill, just 0.4% didn’t.
– But although people agree not everybody knew what we were doing. 59% of the people were clear that we were doing this mandatory quarantine drill to prevent people from getting the Coronavirus. 32% of them pointed out that this was a training exercise for what will come. 4% of the people thought that it was to encourage families to share time together. Just 5% didn’t really know what was the reason of the isolation drill.
– Bus terminals worked fine, people just used the bus terminals to arrive, there were no buses leaving the city.
– Trips to the airport were lowered by 85%.
– The number of cars going out from the city were reduced by 85%, between the day before and the first day, compared to the amount of cars going out from the city in a normal holiday (it was Friday and Monday was a holiday in Colombia). So at least 85% of the people understood that this was not for vacations.
– Cars that went out of the city won’t be able to return by Monday, because the drill goes until Tuesday.
– Car accidents also went down dramatically, so we also saved lives. We just had 8 car/moto accidents during the day.
– We immobilized 31 vehicles that went out without a valid excuse.
– We put 211 fines to drivers that took out their cars without being authorized.
– Another thing we monitored was the supplying, how does it work in a quarantine? Today came into Corabastos (the biggest fruit and vegatable market in Bogota) 24% more than what usually arrives. That has been also possible with the environmental restriction we had, so every day there are less vehicles coming, but with the same or more food. That means we can be much more efficient with the food supply chain of the city. Today 11.400 tons of food arrived, much more than what we expected.
– The 16 markets (plazas de mercado) in Bogota worked perfectly and were fully supplied. There was no shortage in any market, supermarket, convenience store, etc.
– Delivery services (one of the services that was authorized) grew by 300%.
– 69 calls, 30% of the calls was just to get information about the COVID-19 and the 70% was because they were having symptoms. We focused on people that were having respiratory issues that was 18% of that 70%.
– This is important to monitor, Bogota has today 56 cases, most of them people that don’t present any symptoms. Most of the people are in their houses, just 4 are in hospitals, just two of them really have breathing difficulties and none of the cases are on intensive care.
– We were concerned about the issue of family coexistence, because this four days are similar to a mother’s day were usually families share together. So usually that day is difficult in Colombia because violence against women, fights and domestic violence usually increase by 30%. So with that fact we decided to strengthened our purple line that is the one that takes care of women victims of violence. The good news were that we didn’t have a drastic increase of calls so we didn’t have to go to any house for the moment. 32 communications through whatsapp of the purple line, 33 new calls and 66 total calls, more advising things but no really serious case of violence. (we are just in the first day so we have to keep the eyes open in here)
– We were not sure about the demand we were going to have, 99% of people agree but . We didn’t know which type of social emergencies people were going to have.
– We had 200 additional places than we normally have for people that do not have a place to stay, immigrants, homeless people, women with paid sexual jobs, etc. Those places were not filled. During the day we occupied around 150, so we were able to assist vulnerable people.
– Our strategy was to anticipate the food delivery for this period, for people that depend on the city services, kids, elderly, people protected by the system, recyclers, women with sexual payed jobs, etc. We also kept on stock some other food rations in case new people that we had to assist showed up, so with the bank of food of the city, exito fundation, the secretary of social integration, etc. we coordinated the delivery of the rations for kids. For example for kids under 3 years we have 26.500 food rations anticipated, that worked well, 6.500 food rations for kids older than 3 and in general terms we just had to give 1500 additional food rations. It was a moderate demand and we could assist.
– We sanctioned 200 people for not following the drill.
– We closed 24 shops that were not allowed to open.
– There were 6 fights that we attended.
– We found in the streets two Colombians that not only had to stay home because of the drill, but because they recently arrived to Colombia and had to be on quarantine. So we put a sanction and sent them back home.
– We found 17 foreigner citizens in the north that had to be on quarantine. 3 from France, 2 from Venezuela, 3 from Argentina, 2 from Canada, 2 from Brazil, 2 of Romania, 1 from Great Britain.
– In the city center there were 35 foreigners that were not following the isolation drill. A group of 24 people from Holland, 4 from Germany and 7 from Belgium. Maybe it was the language but we have to evaluate it.
– There were two small fires that we controlled.
– We had 4 or 5 emergencies because tubes were broken, so people didn’t have water. We knew that before we received the first call to the 195 line, because of the social media monitoring. The aqueduct was able to do the maintenance and solve the problem.
– We had also requirements to attend veterinary emergencies (one of the services that was allowed, but in doubt). We assisted with the district institute for animal protection and welfare 4 veterinary emergencies, the wildlife center operated normally, the unity of animal care too, anti-cruelty squad was available but fortunately not necessary.

What did we learn?

– Although people trust us with this, we need to make more pedagogy about the triple threat we have. Specially about the prevention actions we need for the Coronavirus. Specially people don’t understand that it is not just about staying at home but about avoiding contact in the house, being from the same family doesn’t protect us from the Coronavirus.
– People get infected because of the saliva, not because of hand shaking. The problem is that we touch our faces too much, so having saliva everywhere is every easy. That is why washing the hands is so important.
– We need to be more solidary, help the other, understand that collective actions are needed.
– We need to take care of mental care. We are taking care physically, but this makes people anxious and afraid, specially when they have another medical conditions. We need to take care of depression for example. We need to improve our mental health care services.
– It is surprising that elderly think that they are the ones with the lowest risk, although they are the ones who have more risks. They are the less informed, maybe they don’t look at the social media. In the surveys they are the ones who have low risk perception.
– Elderly go more to the streets because many of them live alone, so going out is part of having a social contact. Many of the go out to have the food of the day, their medicines, so they have that habit and it is difficult for them to stay home. We need to build up a network to take care of our elderly, that is one of the big conclusions.
– Need to give better training for the people that provide delivery services because they are the ones that have to be more protected, they need to wash more their hands and take care of themselves.
– Although we anticipated the delivery of the food for the vulnerable people and people that live with what they do during the day, if we have to do it for several time, what we have today is not enough. We need more channels or alternatives to help them, it is a big administrative and logistic challenge. But we have to identify them better and have a channel, something like subsides in kind, a monetary transaction system, so we need to build this up very fast to be able to reach all this people.
– People not only trust their family network but their neighbors network, so during this difficulty this neighbors network was reborn. We need to identify this networks better and enhance them better.
– That our public servers are amazing, they went out with all the energy to to their work. Thank you them all.

Bogota thank you, congratulations, today we made history, we did the biggest civic culture exercise in the history of Bogota and we kick the ball out of the stadium. We gave example to all the world, we worked together with other cities. We are amazing, and to all the cities that are starting the drill now good luck! If today we did such an extraordinary work, this weekend we are going to break a historical record as a country. Close to 20 million Colombians will stay home.

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