Colombian capital to lift tough COVID restrictions after passing second peak, mayor says

·1-min read
FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Bogota

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Colombia's capital Bogota will lift tough restrictions and a city-wide red alert against COVID-19 on Wednesday, Mayor Claudia Lopez said on Tuesday, having overcome the peak of a second wave of coronavirus infections.

Surging infections in the new year following celebrations in December saw intensive care unit (ICU) occupancy rates rise above 94%, prompting Lopez to impose curbs on movement, neighborhood quarantines, and nightly curfews.

ICU occupancy rates for patients with coronavirus have since fallen to 81%, according to local government figures.

"We have passed the peak of the second wave of COVID-19. With this favorable trend we will be able to lift the red alert and zonal quarantines from tomorrow and get back to business," Lopez said in a message on Twitter.

"This afternoon we will announce how we will proceed."

Restrictions in Bogota, which has more than 8 million inhabitants, delayed children returning to schools and caused setbacks for economic recovery due to limits on entering shops and other businesses.

Colombia has reported 2.1 million cases of coronavirus, as well as 54,272 deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the virus. There are 89,582 active cases in the South American country.

(Reporting by Nelson Bocanegra; Writing by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Mark Heinrich)