CAMPOHERMOSO, Colombia — When clients enter his ironmongery shop Nelson Avila asks them to put on a masks and wash their arms. He sprays alcohol over the payments and cash they provide him earlier than placing them within the until.
“These payments can carry the virus” stated Avila, 49, as he disinfects a wad of wrinkled Colombian pesos. “They go from hand handy, so we’ve to watch out.”
Officers and locals say the city has been in a position to preserve the virus away due to the disciplined conduct of its residents and fixed campaigns urging folks to social distance and put on masks.
The city’s distant location ringed by mountains, removed from main roads, has additionally helped it to remain coronavirus-free. It has simply seven streets and 6 avenues specified by a neat grid. It’s nestled on the backside of a inexperienced valley, 3300 ft (about 1,000 meters) above sea degree.
“Campohermosos has a low inhabitants density and little contact with huge cities,” stated Jairo Mauricio Santoyo, the well being secretary for Boyaca state.
On condition that Colombia, with a inhabitants of about 50 million folks, has reported greater than 2.3 million confirmed instances of the coronavirus, many think about the dearth of infections right here a small miracle.
In the course of the first decade of this century, Campohermoso was affected by combating between paramilitary teams and leftist rebels, says the city’s mayor, Jaime Rodríguez. The coffee-growing space has been peaceable for greater than a decade however it’s seldom visited by outsiders.
Rodríguez says communication has been essential in maintaining the pandemic away from Campohermoso. Messages concerning the virus and learn how to stop it are broadcast 3 times a day on audio system perched in town’s lampposts.
The native radio station additionally broadcasts each day exhibits that discuss prevention. To make sure everybody will get the message, the mayor’s workplace distributed 1,000 radios to farmers who reside in Campohermoso’s rural areas.
“The entire city has come collectively” Rodríguez stated. “The police, the well being middle, church personnel and the mayor’s workplace all go on the radio station to speak concerning the virus.”
Rodríguez stated his message to townsfolk has been easy: “Its’ as much as each household to cease it.”
He has additionally tried to guide by instance. The mayor says he started to really feel in poor health throughout a current go to to Bogota, the place he examined constructive for the virus. He didn’t return to Campohermoso till he examined unfavourable.
“We’ve put 60 households on the town in quarantine as a result of they confirmed some signs,” Rodríguez stated. “However all of them have examined unfavourable.”
Companies at the moment are open in Campohermoso and solely enable clients sporting masks. The city has not banned guests from different components of the nation however those that arrive and want to keep have been requested to quarantine in a relative’s residence, and obtain a each day name from the native nurse.
Campohermoso’s solely faculty is working at half of its traditional capability. College students have been divided by shifts and attend faculty each different day.
And within the largely Roman Catholic city, the native priest has additionally gotten concerned in prevention efforts.
“We pray to Saint Roch, who’s our patron saint and the protector of the sick,” says Father Camilo Monroy, who has additionally gone on radio to speak about methods to stop the unfold of the virus.
The one different city in Colombia that’s reportedly coronavirus-free is San Juanito, which can also be positioned in a distant valley within the Andes mountains.
Officers think about the 2 instances putting as a result of the virus has even appeared in Amazon jungle villages that may solely be reached by boat or small airplane.
Campohermoso has vaccinated 80 folks to date, most of them senior residents over the age of 80.
Now the coronavirus-free county is ready for extra photographs from Colombia’s central authorities.
Astrid Suarez reported from Bucaramanga, Colombia.
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