After the recognition of the Covid-19 pandemic by the World Health Organization, local leaders in Latin America and the Caribbean took measures that take into account the responsibility of city halls to safeguard the health of the entire population that access services and events available in the municipalities. Mayors and mayors in the region are giving firm answers at this time of global crisis.
In a series of articles, we will highlight the initiatives of cities that are signatories to the Global Covenant of Mayors for Climate and Energy in tackling the pandemic in Latin America and the Caribbean. These leaders are already part of the largest global alliance of local governments for the climate and now they also stand out for the implementation of public policies to assist the populations in a moment of unprecedented emergency. Participate by sending suggestions for initiatives in your city.
Bogota – Colombia
Bogotá Mayor Claudia López Hernández extended social isolation in the city until April 27. The movement called “Cuarentena por la vida” (Quarantine for life) determines that only one person from each family leaves the house at a time, to purchase essential items.
In the area of food security, the city wants to guarantee the sustenance, during quarantine, of 350 thousand families living in conditions of poverty and vulnerability. And to reach half a million assisted families, a donation campaign was launched to serve another 150 thousand families under the same conditions. The basic ticket will be 425 thousand Colombian pesos, the equivalent of just over 100 dollars.
Another initiative is the creation of a credit line for event and restaurant companies, which are the commercial activities that suffered the most limitations from their activities during quarantine. Also working to prevent mass layoffs, the city promises to create promotion lines to increase the productive capacity of some industries and sectors, in addition to activating a mask factory and restaurants and kitchens to feed the vulnerable population.
Public education also entered the emergency plan of the city of Bogotá. The school calendar has been modified so that students are not left helpless, and rules for distance education have been established.
São Leopoldo – Brazil
The city decreed a State of Calamity and imposed immediate measures aimed at containing the spread and preventing COVID-19. One was social isolation. Agglomeration spaces such as shopping malls, nightclubs, bars, gyms, beauty salons, cinemas, clubs, museums and theaters cannot operate. The only shopping centers authorized to operate are pharmacies, health clinics, bakeries, supermarkets.
For public transport, the city has determined that the number of people cannot exceed the capacity of seated passengers, in addition to determining the daily cleaning of vehicles. Vehicles should also have sanitary information on hygiene and care for the prevention of COVID-19.
To screen and refer patients with suspected contamination, the city set up modular structures to prevent other users from the public network from having contact with patients with coronavirus symptoms. After this first assessment in this separate space, the user will be redirected to home isolation or hospitalization.
Franco da Rocha – Brazil
In order to prepare the health system for an increase in demand, the City of Franco da Rocha erected, in ten days, an Observation and Screening Center to Assist Covid-19. The site will operate 24 hours a day and has about 70 health professionals.
The center is prepared to carry out rapid tests and assist patients referred by basic health units. There are 40 beds prepared to serve patients with mild to moderate symptoms. The most serious cases will be referred to the Intensive Care Units.
Montevideo – Uruguay
Coping with violence against women has also entered the Montevideo emergency plan, as isolation in the quarantine can increase cases of domestic aggression. The city has adjusted special hours and services for free assistance to women in situations of violence, in addition to providing emergency telephone assistance.
The city implemented teleworking for public servants, reinforcing social isolation. Another measure announced was the donation of food baskets and hygiene products to families in need.