Colombian city makes use of self-discipline, audio system to remain virus-free

CAMPOHERMOSO, Colombia — When clients enter his ironmongery shop Nelson Avila asks them to put on a masks and wash their palms. He sprays alcohol over the payments and cash they offer him earlier than placing them within the until.

“These payments can carry the virus” mentioned Avila, 49, as he disinfects a wad of wrinkled Colombian pesos. “They go from hand at hand, so we’ve got to watch out.”

Officers and locals say the city has been capable of maintain the virus away because of the disciplined conduct of its residents and fixed campaigns urging individuals 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.

On condition that Colombia, with a inhabitants of about 50 million individuals, has reported greater than 2.3 million confirmed circumstances of the coronavirus, many take into account the dearth of infections right here a small miracle.

Through the first decade of this century, Campohermoso was affected by preventing 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 the best way to forestall it are broadcast thrice a day on audio system perched in town’s lampposts.

The native radio station additionally broadcasts each day reveals that discuss prevention. To make sure everybody will get the message, the mayor’s workplace distributed 1,000 radios to farmers who stay in Campohermoso’s rural areas.

“The entire city has come collectively” Rodríguez mentioned. “The police, the well being heart, church personnel and the mayor’s workplace all go on the radio station to speak concerning the virus.”

Rodríguez mentioned 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 ailing throughout a latest go to to Bogota, the place he examined constructive for the virus. He didn’t return to Campohermoso till he examined destructive.

“We’ve put 60 households on the town in quarantine as a result of they confirmed some signs,” Rodríguez mentioned. “However all of them have examined destructive.”

Companies at the moment are open in Campohermoso and solely permit clients carrying masks. The city has not banned guests from different elements of the nation however those that arrive and want to keep have been requested to quarantine in a relative’s dwelling, and obtain a each day name from the native nurse.

Campohermoso’s solely college is operating at half of its normal capability. College students have been divided by shifts and attend college 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 forestall the unfold of the virus.

The one different city in Colombia that’s reportedly coronavirus-free is San Juanito, which can be positioned in a distant valley within the Andes mountains.

Officers take into account the 2 circumstances hanging as a result of the virus has even appeared in Amazon jungle villages that may solely be reached by boat or small aircraft.

Campohermoso has vaccinated 80 individuals to date, most of them senior residents over the age of 80.

Now the coronavirus-free county is ready for extra pictures from Colombia’s central authorities.


Astrid Suarez reported from Bucaramanga, Colombia.

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