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Colombia's capital lifts most coronavirus measures but says new outbreak inevitable

A Red Cross employee wearing a face mask talks to a passenger, after the Colombian government gave authorization to reactivate international flights, amidst the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak, in Bogota, Colombia September 21, 2020. REUTERS/Luisa Gonzalez

BOGOTA (Reuters) - Bogota, the Colombian capital, will lift most of the restrictions implemented to curb the spread of coronavirus, the mayor’s office said on Monday, though it warned that a new outbreak in the city of 8 million is inevitable.

Bogota began quarantine measures in the second half of March, before the Andean country entered a nationwide lockdown to control the pandemic, which lasted through August.

While a selective quarantine remains in place nationally for September, authorities in Bogota will lift many restrictions from Tuesday, including rules dictating when people can shop or visit banks.

“If we maintain these bio-security rules, we can enjoy this new normality with more socializing, more activities and more work,” Bogota Mayor Claudia Lopez said in a video posted on Twitter, referring to the use of face masks and social distancing.

However, a new outbreak of coronavirus is “inevitable”, her office said in an accompanying statement, and necessary measures will be taken when needed.

Colombia has reported over 765,000 cases of the novel coronavirus and confirmed 24,208 deaths from COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus.

Reporting by Oliver Griffin; Editing by Leslie Adler