Colombia will expel foreigners caught partying as Covid-19 spreads

A woman seen during a protest by workers from the nightlife and tourism industry in Medellin, Colombia, on Jan 15, 2021. PHOTO: AFP

BOGOTA (AFP) - Colombian immigration officials announced Monday (Jan 18) that foreign nationals caught taking part in underground parties in violation of a ban on social gatherings during the pandemic will be expelled from the country.

"Foreigners caught at underground parties and violating social distancing measures... will be immediately expelled from the country," the immigration service said in a statement. It added that the measure was imposed "after 65 foreigners were found in an underground party" in Bogota overnight Saturday to Sunday.

Police said the majority of the foreign nationals were from Venezuela. The immigration service's head for the Andean region, Mr Henry Corredor, said it "will not allow a foreigner to affect the health security".

Some 1.7 million Venezuelans live in Colombia, having fled there from the economic collapse and political crisis of their homeland.

The mayor of Bogota also announced Monday that the capital would be under a night-time curfew from next Tuesday, with a general quarantine next weekend for the third week in a row to tackle the surging coronavirus infections that threaten to overwhelm the city's hospitals.

"We have just spent two weekends in general quarantine and we will be in it again this weekend," said Mayor Claudia Lopez on Facebook.

The measure will mean the closure of all non-essential shops in the city of eight million from Friday at 8pm until Monday at 4am.

In some parts of the city, the restrictions will remain in place until Jan 28.

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