Colombia closes border with Brazil, divides border town in half

Colombia closes border with Brazil, divides border town in half
Leticia, Colombia, sits right at the border. Photo: Shutterstock

If it were not for an imaginary line separating Brazil from Colombia, the cities of Leticia and Tabatinga could be considered to be one single municipality. To combat Covid-19, however, the Colombian government has decided to make this division clearer, establishing a visible border between the Brazilian and Colombian sides.

On Monday, President Iván Duque announced Colombia was closing its triple border with Brazil and Peru in order to control the spread of Covid-19 in the country. Since then, the Colombian army has been deployed on the streets of Leticia to prevent the circulation of people between the three countries. 

The decision came after the Colombian state of Amazonas saw a rapid increase in the number of Covid-19 cases. Less than one month after reporting its first infection, the city has now the highest rate of coronavirus cases in Colombia. With 110 cases per 10,000 people, Leticia’s numbers are 20 times those of the capital city Bogotá. The city also ranks fourth in the total number of deaths in the country. As a result, Leticia has already run out of burial sites, newspaper El Tiempo has reported.

Colombia went into full lockdown on March 24. The country currently has 12,930 confirmed Covid-19 cases. Brazil, meanwhile, with a population four times larger, has almost 15 times more confirmed cases.