Correspondent in Bogotá
Updated:04/09/2020 03: 27h
With the naked eye, without having to remove the identification, with the naked eye and without complications: from Monday, April 13, the women of Bogotá will momentarily come out of quarantine on even days and the men, the odd ones, and only one person per family. The transgender population will be able to go to the market or to the bank according to their gender identity and not with their identity card, thereby respecting their rights.
This was announced yesterday by Mayor Claudia López, who indicated that the pedagogical process begins this Thursday, April 9, and that starting on Easter Monday the fine of one million pesos (about 240 euros, just over the minimum wage in Colombia) will be paid to anyone who fails to order.
In this way, López solves the issue of how to tighten the quarantine without hanging the more than seven million inhabitants, and what is more pressing, puts a brake on the street people, especially in popular sectors of the city, continue to challenge preventive confinement imposed by the Mayor’s Office since March 20 and that President Iván Duque extended this week until April 27 for the entire country, with possibilities of extending it.
The mayor’s idea is not new. In Panama, a neighboring country to Colombia, it came into effect on April 1, as a way to stop contagion on the isthmus, since it is the Central American country with the highest number of positive cases of coronavirus. There, women and men rotate on departure days and on Sunday, a Solomonic solution, nobody goes out into the street -except in case of extreme necessity-. Although no one likes to be restricted in mobility, in Panama the debate has been strong because local authorities have detained transgender people to ask for identification, and since it can show their birth sex – there is no change in the documentation officer unless they undergo sex change surgery – they are fined $ 200.
In Bogotá –which has almost double the population of all of Panama-, on the other hand, those who are protesting now are the politicians with the “peak and gender”, alluding to the measure of “Beak and plate” to which the citizens of Bogotá are so familiar and with which it is a question of reducing traffic in the city according to the final number – odd or even – on the license plate. His arguments basically revolve around cases like those presented in Panama, fearing that transphobia will determine arbitrary actions by the police and affect the rights of citizens. Other city councilors questioned why establish the exits by gender and not by ID, since this idea by identification had been proposed by the opposition parties; Still others questioned the technical assessment of the measure.
On April 8, the city reported 992 cases, of which 490 are women and 502 men. That is, the capital has practically half of the country’s registered positives. 13% of those affected are hospitalized, an additional 4.1% are in the ICU and 82% remain at home. What started as an imported contagion today is not well known how it has happened, only that it wanders everywhere and multiplies with human interactions and the lack of foresight and compliance with protocols.
And there is a peculiarity: most people with symptoms or positive are in a age range between 30-39 years, followed by groups of 40-49 and 20-29, that is, a young population, very active and key in the workforce that will be required to move the city forward after the pandemic passes.
Although the outputs change, the rest of the measures and all 32 exceptions remain. In other words, all health, citizen services, homes, food transportation and security personnel are exempt from this restriction. Instead, taxi drivers require controls and registration of each passenger who uses a taxi, with complete data, as a follow-up measure.