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Colombia: Legal Response to Covid-19

Colombia [co]

Carlos Bernal-Pulido, Diego González Medina, María Fernanda Barraza Díaz, Sebastián Rubiano-Groot

From: Oxford Constitutions (http://oxcon.ouplaw.com). (c) Oxford University Press, 2022. All Rights Reserved.date: 30 June 2022

General editors: Prof. Jeff King; Prof. Octavio Ferraz
Area editors: Prof. Tendayi Achiume; Prof. Alan Bogg; Dr. Natalie Byrom; Prof. Cathryn Costello; Prof. Nicola Countouris; Prof. Colleen Flood; Prof. Eva Pils; Prof. Nico Steytler; Dr. Silvia Suteu; Dr. Bryan Thomas; Dr. Michael Veale; Dr. Pedro A. Villarreal


© The several contributors 2021. Some rights reserved. This is an open access publication, available online and distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 4.0 International (CC BY-NC 4.0), a copy of which is available at https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-nc/4.0/. Enquiries concerning use outside the scope of the licence terms should be sent to the Rights Department, Oxford University Press.

Preferred Citation: C Bernal, D González Medina, M Barraza Díaz, and S Rubiano-Groot, ‘Colombia: Legal Response to Covid-19’, in Jeff King and Octávio LM Ferraz et al (eds), The Oxford Compendium of National Legal Responses to Covid-19 (OUP 2021). Doi: 10.1093/law-occ19/e34.013.34

Except where the text indicates the contrary, the law is as it stood on: 1 March 2021

I.  Constitutional Framework

1.  The 1991 Constitution of Colombia1 institutes: (i) a social and democratic State,2 (ii) organized as a unitary republic, (iii) with a presidential political system, which is governed by the principles of (iv) separation of powers,3 (v) the rule of law, and (vi) the supremacy of the Constitution,4 with the aim of (vii) guaranteeing the human dignity and the fundamental rights of individuals.5 None of the measures or policies related to the pandemic changed this constitutional arrangement.

2.  The President of the Republic and the Ministers form the Government. They exercise the executive power at a national level.6 The governors and mayors are invested with executive power, respectively, in the departments7 and municipalities.8 In particular, governors and mayors have powers to direct and to coordinate administrative actions regarding local public services and programs of economic development inside their territories. Also, they have powers to order curfews and lockdowns in their territories.

3.  Three features of the 1991 Colombian Constitution are relevant concerning the legal and political response to the Covid-19 pandemic:

  1. i.  Article 49 provides that: (i) the State is in charge of public health; (ii) ‘all individuals are guaranteed access to services that promote, protect, and restore health’; and (iii) ‘every individual has the right to have access to the integral care of their health and that of their community’. The Colombian Constitutional Court has interpreted that provision as entrenching a fundamental right to health.9

  2. ii.  Article 189 grants the President the powers to: (i) ‘preserve the public order throughout the territory and restore it where it has been disturbed’, (ii) ‘oversee the strict collection and administration of public revenues and credits and decree their investment in accordance with the relevant statutes’, and (iii) ‘organize the public credit’.

  3. iii.  Article 215 invests the Government with the power to declare a state of emergency when events occur that ‘disrupt or threaten to disrupt in a serious or imminent manner the economic, social, or ecological order of the country or which constitute a grave public calamity.’ This state of emergency can last 30 days. The Government can extend it for other 30 days, and, if required, for another 30 days. The second extension requires the prior approval of the Senate. In any case, the state of emergency may never exceed 90 days in a calendar year. During the state of emergency, the Government may issue decrees with force of law, with the purpose of containing the crisis and halting the extension of its effects. Hence, the decrees may only refer to matters that have a direct connection to the state of emergency. They can provisionally establish new taxes or amend existing ones. The validity of those fiscal measures will cease at the end of the subsequent fiscal year, unless the Congress grants them permanent character.

4.  Article 215 of the Constitution entrenches specific checks and balances on the use of the executive emergency powers. This Article provides three specific devices aimed to make the executive politically accountable for the declaration of the state of emergency measures: (i) the Congress shall examine the Government report on the causes justifying the state of emergency and the measures adopted; (ii) the Congress shall deliver an express pronouncement on the convenience of these measures; and finally, (iii) the Congress may repeal, amend or add all the Legislative Decrees enacted by the President. Furthermore, Articles 215 and 241 empower the Constitutional Court to review, ex officio, the constitutionality of the emergency powers decrees. Finally, the Government may not infringe on the social rights of workers by means of the emergency decrees.

5.  The Constitution of Colombia contains further provisions and regulations related to public health services.10 Article 49 sets forth the state’s responsibility to provide health services to the population in accordance with the principles of efficiency, universality, and solidarity. This Article establishes that public health services will be organized in a decentralized manner. Finally, it provides that the Nation, territorial entities, and individuals share responsibilities regarding public health. Under ordinary conditions, the Congress,11 the President,12 and local authorities13 share the obligation to regulate and supply health services.

II.  Applicable Legal Framework

A.  Constitutional and international law

6.  The Government declared a constitutional state of emergency. On 17 March 2020, the President enacted Legislative Decree 417/2020,14 by which he declared a state of exception (economic, social, and ecological emergency) because of the rapid spread of the Covid-19 and its consequences. After the expiration of that declaration, on 6 May 2020, the President declared a second state of exception through Legislative Decree 637/2020.15

7.  Under that state of emergency, the Government did not suspend any constitutional provision.

8.  Multiple provisions of the Constitution concern the protection of human rights, the operation of the legislature, and access to the court systems. Article 214 of the Constitution regulates states of exceptions and establishes their limits. In particular, it prescribes that (1) neither human rights nor fundamental freedoms may be suspended under states of exception and (2) the normal functioning of the branches of government or state organs shall not be interrupted, including the legislature and the Courts.

9.  Also, Statutory Act 137/1994 prescribes that extraordinary powers may only be exercised without (1) jeopardizing ‘intangible rights’16 and suspending fundamental rights,17 (2) interrupting the normal operation of the branches of public power,18 or (3) eliminating the basic functioning of the judiciary.19 Intangible rights are the right to life and personal integrity, the right not to be subjected to forced disappearance and torture, the right to marry, and the right to habeas corpus, among others.

10.  The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR)20 and the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR)21 contain provisions relating to emergency powers and have been relevant to the state´s response to the pandemic. Article 93 of the Constitution attributes domestically binding force to international human rights treaties, which Colombia has ratified.22

11.  Articles 4 of the ICCPR and 27 of the ACHR establish that all States Parties (1) may take strictly required measures derogating their obligations under those normative bodies for limited periods of time, (2) should not take discriminatory measures on the grounds of race, color, sex, language, religion, or social origin, and (3) cannot derogate from the right to life, and the prohibition of torture or cruel treatment, among others.23

12.  Regarding public health, Article 12 of the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR) sets forth that all State Parties recognize the right to health, and consequently, are obliged to prevent, treat, and control epidemic and endemic diseases. Other international conventions to which Colombia is part oblige the State to protect and to promote public health for certain populations.24

13.  The Government did not derogate any of the provisions of international conventions.

14.  Almost every ordinary and legislative decree enacted by the President to address Covid-19 quoted standards developed by the World Health Organization (WHO), and some of them referred to declarations or resolutions of other international bodies such as the International Labor Organization (ILO).

B.  Statutory provisions

15.  Six days after the first Covid-19 case in Colombia was reported, on 12 March 2020, the Minister of Health and Social Protection issued Resolution 385/2020.25 This Resolution declared the statutory state of health emergency throughout the national territory until 30 May 2020. It also prescribed a series of measures in order to prevent and control the spread of the virus and mitigate its impacts. This statutory state of health emergency expires on 28 February 2022.26 In any case, it is still uncertain whether the Minister of Health and Social Protection will extend the health emergency beyond this date.

16.  Pre-pandemic legislation was the basis to adopt public health measures. First, Statutory Act 1751/2015 regulates the right to health.27 This law contains detailed obligations for the State to respect, promote, and fulfill the right to health. Second, Statutory Act 9/1979 authorizes the Minister of Health and Social Protection to (1) regulate epidemiological surveillance28 and (2) order isolation of individuals to avoid disease transmission.29 Third, Article 69 of Statutory Act 1753/2015 prescribes that the Minister of Health and Social Protection may declare a ‘sanitary health emergency’ or ‘catastrophic state of emergency’, due to the risk of epidemics, shortage of health goods or services, or catastrophic events that affect collective health. 30

17.  Those legal instruments were sufficient for the Government to exercise statutory and constitutional emergency powers. Hence, Congress did not need to pass any general law to provide powers in order to address the Covid-19 crisis.

C.  Executive rule-making powers

18.  Executive rule-making powers played a dominant role in the policy-making activity for addressing Covid-19.

19.  Though Congress began to exercise its competences on 13 April 2020, it only approved one Act regarding the crisis: Statutory Act 2064/2020, by which the Congress declared of general interest the strategy for immunization of the Colombian population against Covid-19.31 That declaration was not merely symbolic. It has two important consequences. First, to prioritize multiparty partnerships among international bodies, private companies, and public institutions, in order to collect resources to control the pandemic. Second, to create the Evaluation Council of Adverse Reactions to Covid-19.

20.  In contrast, the President enacted almost every policy concerning the crisis by exercising either ordinary competences (Article 189 of the Constitution) or extraordinary powers to adopt legislative decrees (Article 215 of the Constitution). Overall, the President promulgated an unprecedented amount of 189 ordinary and legislative decrees.

21.  There are five main differences between ordinary and legislative decrees. Ordinary decrees (1) do not have force of law as long as they have infra-legal status, (2) are enacted solely by the President without the signature of ministers, (3) have no temporal limitations, (4) have regulatory nature, and (5) are subjected to judicial review before the Council of the State.32 By contrast, legislative decrees (1) have force of law as it has legal status, (2) should be promulgated by the President and all the ministers after the declaration of the state of exception, (3) are in effect only for the duration of the emergency, (4) have equivalent normative status to laws enacted by the Parliament, and (5) are subjected to judicial review before the Constitutional Court only.33

22.  Apart from the presidential decrees, every ministry and national and local authority enacted resolutions and directives to adopt specific regulations regarding their respective fields (health, education, tourism, etc). For instance, the Minister of Health and Social Protection alone issued 76 resolutions to address health policy during the crisis.34 These resolutions do not have the force of law.

23.  Whereas the President promulgated 115 legislative decrees by exercising extraordinary powers, he issued 74 ordinary decrees through ordinary regulatory competences.35

24.  Legislative decrees have regulated the following areas: (i) public services (31 legislative decrees); (ii) public finances (22); (iii) taxes (13); (iv) private companies (12); (v) social assistance for vulnerable communities (10); (vi) court system (10); (vii) employment protection (10); and (viii) public contracts (5).

25.  No legislative decree has suspended any constitutional provision or fundamental right, nor any international convention.

26.  The Constitutional Court has reviewed the constitutionality of all legislative decrees. It has declared 57 constitutional, seven unconstitutional, and 51 partially constitutional.36 According to Article 241 of the Constitution, this is an ex post, abstract, and automatic judicial review.

27.  Most of the ordinary decrees included detailed regulations regarding specific policies such as household public services, education, and Wi-Fi connection. However, some of them stipulated relevant sanitary and public order measures such as quarantines, lockdowns, and mobility restrictions, as will be discussed in Part IV below.

28.  By the end of 2020, the Council of the State—which is the Supreme Administrative Court—has exercised immediate legal judicial review in 197 cases regarding ordinary decrees and other administrative regulations issued to address the pandemic,37 having annulled 3% of those ordinary decrees and regulations.38

D.  Guidance

29.  Along with legislative and ordinary decrees, domestic soft law has played a significant role in dealing with the Covid-19 crisis. Most national and local authorities have produced multiple guides, protocols, orientations, and guidelines in response to the outbreak. Such instruments are non-binding.

30.  The proliferation of such measures has been unprecedented. The Ministry of Health and Social Protection (MHSP) alone published 108 guidelines and orientations regarding Covid-19.39 Through soft law instruments, the MHSP provided recommendations on several matters such as telehealth and telemedicine, access to health services for LGBTI communities, prevention and management of Covid-19 cases among the migrant population, control of tuberculosis in the context of the spread of the virus, the strategy for caring for inmates and indigenous communities, the appropriate use of face masks, and biosecurity protocols on specific services such as optometry and psychology, among many others.

III.  Institutions and Oversight

A.  The role of legislatures in supervising the executive

31.  According to Article 215 of the Constitution, in the decree that declares the state of exception, the Government must summon the Congress if the latter is not in a period of ordinary meetings. Moreover, it explicitly establishes that the Congress may hold meetings ‘by virtue of its own right’ if the Government fails to summon it. It is worth noting that Article 18 of Statutory Act 137/1994 states that the President may assist Congress’s ordinary meetings held during states of exception.40 During the crisis, the Congress may exercise its ordinary powers to (i) summon Government officials to control political debates (Article 114 of the Constitution)41 and (ii) impeach Government officials (Article 135 of the Constitution).42

32.  Furthermore, the Constitution and Statutory Act 137/1994 grant the Congress three special supervisory powers over executive officials’ acts during states of emergency.

33.  First, a power to ‘revise’ the emergency declaration. Article 215 of the Constitution and Article 48 of Statutory Act 137/1994 provide that the Government must deliver reports regarding the causes of the emergency declaration and the measures taken during the state of exception.43 It also establishes that the Congress has the power to examine the ‘convenience’ and ‘opportunity’ of the emergency declaration and must deliver a report on the matter. The power to revise and deliver reports on the ‘opportunity’ and ‘convenience’ of the emergency declaration and its causes is materially broad, not limited to specific issues or topics. For instance, Congress can comment on the evidence that allegedly supports the declaration, the duration of executive powers and the necessity of renewal etc. Congress’ power to revise has a political and supervisory nature given that it can only comment on the convenience and opportunity of the declaration, but it cannot overrule the Governments’ declaration, terminate the Government’s decree-making power, and its comments are not legally binding.

34.  Second, a power to repeal and modify the measures provided for in legislative decrees. The measures adopted in legislative decrees can remain in force after the state of exception has ended. Article 215 of the Constitution states that legislative decrees that are related to matters that are ordinarily of ‘Government initiative’ can be repealed and modified by the Congress only ‘during the year after the emergency declaration is issued’. All other decrees can be modified at any time.44

35.  Third, Article 52 of Statutory Act 137/1994 provides that Congress may initiate responsibility procedures against the President and ministers for any act related to the management of the crisis.45

36.  During both states of exception that followed the WHO Covid-19 pandemic declaration, the Congress of Colombia has indeed exercised supervisory powers. To study the convenience and opportunity of the emergency declarations and the measures taken to overcome the crisis, each chamber of the Congress (Senate and the House of Representatives) appointed one ‘special commission’ to scrutinize the opportunity and convenience of each of the emergency declarations.

37.  On 17 March 2020, the Directive Board of the Senate created the special commission to revise the convenience and opportunity of the first emergency declaration issued in Decree 417/2020 and appointed its members. Later, on 23 June 2020, the Directive board of the Senate issued Resolution 06/2020 by virtue of which it created the special commission to revise the convenience and opportunity of the second emergency declaration issued in Decree 637/2020 and appointed its members.46 These commissions were composed by congressman of different political parties that delivered several individual comprehensive reports for each of the emergency declarations issued by the Government that were later presented to the plenary of each chamber.47 No collective agreed report was delivered by accidental commissions of the Senate and the House of Representatives. The members of each accidental commission delivered individual reports to the plenary of each chamber. Some of the reports supported the convenience and opportunity of the declarations. Others criticized the measures taken by the Government. Not all of the individual reports that were presented to the plenary are available online. However, some of them may be consulted on websites.48 Both Congress chambers supported the convenience of such declarations.49 However, opposition parties consistently criticized the measures taken by the Government to tackle the social and economic effects of the pandemic.50

38.  Moreover, Congress undertook more than 100 political control debates with executive officials.51 The officials that were most often summoned were the Ministry of Finance and the MHSP.52

B.  The functioning of the legislature where its ordinary business is disrupted

39.  Congress has been able to meet during periods of disruption and to scrutinize Government policy during the pandemic because it resorted to virtual meetings. However, it is worth noting that ordinary sessions of both chambers of the Congress were generally suspended for almost one month (16 March–13 April)53 due to (i) Resolution 385/2020 of the MHSP, and (ii) a period of adjustment in organizing the implementation of virtual meetings.

40.  Two weeks after the beginning of the pandemic, the Government issued Legislative Decree 491/2020. Article 12 of the Decree authorized all State agencies, including the Congress, to meet virtually. The implementation of virtual means in Congress was subject to substantial debate among political parties and in the Constitutional Court.54 In fact, opposition parties stated that Article 12 was unconstitutional for the following reasons.55 First, they considered that the Constitution, Statutory Act 5/1992, and the Congress’s internal bylaws did not allow for ordinary meetings to be held virtually. Second, they argued that the President had no competence to authorize recourse for the Congress to virtual meetings given that the Congress had an autonomous power to decide on matters related to its functioning. Third, they contend that there are matters, such as constitutional amendments, that should not be debated and voted by virtual means due to their importance. Finally, they complained that many state agencies implemented biosecurity protocols to prevent contagion and exercise its functions in-person during the pandemic and, therefore, recourse to virtual meeting was not necessary.

41.  Soon after this legislative decree was issued, Congress adjusted its internal bylaws and implemented several protocols to ensure its virtual functioning. These modifications did not impose constraints on the process of voting, nor on the number of persons permitted to participate in plenary meetings, nor the process of posing questions and of offering rejoinders to answers in debates. Normal access to debates and voting was secured by software that secured free access (Zoom and G Suite). While there was a period of adjustment, there were no major complaints filed by Congress in this regard. However, as explained above, opposition parties argued that virtual meetings imposed practical and technical obstacles to the power to exercise political scrutiny.

42.  On 9 July 2020, the Constitutional Court rendered decision C-242/2020. The Court held that Article 12 of Decree 491/2020 was unconstitutional because the Constitution did not entitle the President to authorize the Congress to conduct sessions virtually, rather, it was for the Congress to decide on such matters.56 The Court clarified that the Congress could validly meet virtually if it provided to do so, However, as a general rule, ordinary meetings must be carried out in person and even in extraordinary circumstances recourse to virtual meetings had to be exceptional.

C.  Role of and access to courts

43.  The Government and the Administrative Council of the Judiciary—which is the national authority in charge of directing the functioning and budget allocations of the judiciary in Colombia—implemented measures to secure access to justice during the pandemic, protect the right to health of judicial officials, and to adjust proceedings to allow them to be pursued online.

44.  On 16 March 2020, immediately after the beginning of the lockdown, the Administrative Council ordered the suspension of civil, criminal, labour, and administrative judicial proceedings.57 At the same time, it ordered that all judicial officials should work from home and implemented measures to guarantee that they could continue their functions normally. For example, it provided and delivered computers, printers, scanners, and other equipment to officials.58

45.  The temporary suspension of in-person judicial services lasted four months (from 16 March to 1 July 2020). After the suspension was lifted, the Administrative Council implemented biosecurity protocols59 and other measures to prevent contagion. In particular, the Council ordered that only 20% of the personnel could provide in-person judicial services and every public servant had to wear mask and gloves during working hours. It also issued directives on (i) workplace sanitizing and disinfection, (ii) waste management, (iii) personal cleaning, and (iv) contagion management, among others.

46.  The Government issued Legislative Decree 806/2020,60 which adjusted judicial proceedings to guarantee the ongoing operation of courts during the pandemic and address the judicial backlog that resulted from the temporary suspension.

47.  The Decree prescribed that all judicial proceedings should be carried out through virtual mechanisms and ordered four noteworthy procedural adjustments. First, it adjusted the rules applicable to notices so that individuals could be validly informed of the existence of judicial proceedings, or any judicial act by virtual means, such as e-mail, WhatsApp, or Facebook. Second, it allowed citizens to file legal action online, to avoid health risks. Third, it modified courtroom practice: in particular, it ordered that hearings (i) should primarily be carried out by virtual means and (ii) that they could be held with the majority of the members of a tribunal. The rationale of this measure was that some of the members of the tribunal could use the time of the hearing to advance work in other matters. Finally, the Decree ordered executive authorities to implement policies to ensure that poor and rural communities had access to computers or any other technology necessary to guarantee their full online participation in proceedings. It also ordered judges to make ‘reasonable adjustments’ to proceedings, in order to protect the right to a fair trial of users who lacked computer skills.

48.  There are no official studies about the impact of the pandemic on access to justice, nor on the extent to which online proceedings have taken place. However, on December 2020, the Administrative Council delivered its annual report (Informe de rendición de cuentas) on the functioning of the judiciary during 2020.61 The report states that (i) the productivity of the judiciary was not significantly reduced due to the pandemic, and (ii) the overall impact of switching to online proceedings was generally positive. This perception is also shared by the Corporation for the Excellence of Justice, a private civil organization that supervises the functioning of the judiciary.62 Nevertheless, some NGOs and lawyers noted that rural communities faced significant barriers to access justice. They argued that a part of the population does not have access to the internet, and that some courts located in rural areas could not implement online proceedings as they lacked the ability to send e-mails, or lacked scanners or even computers.

49.  The Constitutional Court and the Council of State have review powers over declarations of states emergency or exception. The Constitutional Court has reviewed the constitutionality of all legislative decrees. It has declared 57 constitutional, seven unconstitutional, and 51 partially constitutional.63 According to Article 241 of the Constitution, this is an ex post, abstract, and automatic judicial review. Furthermore, by the end of 2020, the Council of the State—which is the Supreme Administrative Court—has exercised immediate legal judicial review in 197 cases regarding ordinary decrees and other administrative regulations issued to address the pandemic,64 having annulled 3% of those ordinary decrees and regulations.65

D.  Elections

50.  On 12 March 2020, the Minister of Internal Affairs issued Resolution 0337 which suspended the Community Action Board elections that were supposed to take place on April 2020. These elections took place on 5 April 2021, 1 July 2021, 25 July 2021, 26 September 2021, and 28 November 2021.66 Other than that, the pandemic has not caused any major disruptions to national or regional elections, nor to referendums since none were scheduled to take place during 2020 or 2021.

E.  Scientific advice

51.  The Constitution and Statutory Act 137/1994 do not expressly prescribe that sanitary measures provided for in legislative decrees must be based on independent scientific advice to be valid. However, the Constitution does require the President to justify any legislative measures undertaken during a state of exception. Therefore, legislative decrees that contain sanitary measures must expressly establish the factual evidence that supports the necessity and suitability of the measure issued.

52.  Scientific evidence and expert advice during a statutory state of health emergency is governed by Decree 780/2016.67 This decree prescribes that sanitary measures taken during such period ‘must be based on scientific principles and the advice of experts’. However, the experts that render the advice can be public officials and need not be de jure or de facto independent from any of the executive authorities. There was no official or informal advisory body appointed to advice the Government during the pandemic.

F.  Freedom of the press and freedom of information

53.  The reporting on Covid-19 by the media has not been constrained by the executive during the pandemic. On the contrary, the Government issued two measures to secure Covid-19 reporting: (i) it exempted press reporters from mobility restrictions,68 and (ii) it declared that television was an essential service, and its functioning could not be suspended during the crisis.69

54.  Notwithstanding, the Organisation for the Free Press (OFP) has denounced the executive,70 claiming that the freedom of the press has been de facto limited during the pandemic for two reasons. First, they argued that executive authorities did not issue sufficient measures aimed at protecting reporters from biological risks. Second, they claimed that Government ordered mass media companies to disseminate official information related to the health emergency and the measures taken by the Government.71 The OFP considered that such obligation entail a form of Government propaganda.72

55.  Access to information has not been significantly restrained during the pandemic. The laws that govern access to public information were not subject to relevant modifications. In fact, the only change implemented to relevant legislation was the extension (from 15 to 30 days) of the time limit that Government institutions have to answer a request for information.73

56.  Moreover, Transparency for Colombia,74 one of the most important supervisory NGOs in these matters, reported that access to information was secured during the pandemic. Specifically, it stated that (i) public agencies enabled online channels for the submission of information requests during the pandemic, and (ii) the MHSP created a public website for the publishing of information most relevant to the crisis and the measures taken by the Government.

57.  However, it is worth noting that the OFP has argued that access to information has been limited during the crisis for two reasons. First, authorities have allegedly denied requests for information related to the pandemic, alleging that the discovery of such information could affect public health interests. Second, local authorities are not entitled to deliver statistical information about contagion.75

G.  Ombuds and oversight bodies

58.  The Procuraduría General de la Nación (Office of the Inspector General) is the public institution empowered to secure public officials’ compliance with their functions and to investigate their administrative faults

59.  In addition, the Contraloría General de la República (Office of the Comptroller General) is the public entity that exercises fiscal and budget control over public institutions.

60.  During the pandemic, the Procuraduría General de la Nación issued several directives and took legal action against several executive officials.76 Furthermore, the Contraloría General de la República monitored the response to Covid-19 by executive authorities. In particular, the Comptroller General issued Directive 6 of 2020 which ordered executive authorities to (i) deliver comprehensive reports regarding the financial resources that were going to be used to execute the emergency response plans and (ii) provide a copy of the contracts that were subscribed with other government agencies or private parties in exercise of urgent procurement powers.77 Said Directive also contained general recommendations to public officials in regards to the exercise of said powers. Furthermore, the Office of the Comptroller designed tailored protocols to monitor and supervise the implementation of the vaccination plan and the expenditure of public budgets that were destined to finance urgent sanitary measures and social aid programs (housing, food, wage subsidies) during the pandemic.78

61.  No ombudsperson has played a crucial role in overseeing the actions of the executive in relation to any of the measures taken during the crisis. Furthermore, no general reviewer of legislation was appointed.

IV.  Public Health Measures, Enforcement and Compliance

A.  Public health measures

62.  Since the WHO acknowledged Covid-19 as a pandemic, Colombia has implemented several public health measures to halt the spread of the virus. These measures have closely followed WHO guidelines and also resembled measures imposed by other countries. For example, in Resolution 385 of 2020, the MHSP cites the WHO’s recommendation for states to ‘adopt urgent measure to identify, confirm, isolate, monitor, and treat positive cases’. In addition, in Resolution 380 of 2020, the MHSP mentioned the general mobility restrictions imposed by France and Italy as effective measures to reduce contagion.79 Most of these measures have been adopted at the national level by the MHSP.

63.  Resolution 385/2020 allowed the MHSP to adopt ‘extraordinary, urgent and strict measures, as well as to provide the financial, human, and logistic resources’ necessary to contain the virus.80

64.  The statutory state of health emergency measures include the prohibition of large-gatherings, and the adoption of 30 biosecurity protocols that established social distancing rules and the compulsory use of facemasks.81

1.  Individual mobility restrictions on citizens (stay-at-home, curfews, etc)

65.  The national Government has ordered several national mobility restriction measures during the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio (preventive mandatory isolation) period.82 These measures were in effect across the country from 25 March to 1 September 2020.

66.  Decrees 457/2020,83 531/2020,84 593/2020,85 749/2020,86 990/2020,87 and 1076/202088 established specific national rules on aislamiento preventivo obligatorio. These included mobility restrictions (eg, national lockdown, national curfew, and the national requirement to stay-at-home), rules on remote working and the closure of premises, as well as exceptions.

67.  Local authorities have the competence to enforce compliance to these rules.89 Non-compliance might carry the imposition of criminal sanctions and fines. If local authorities fail to enforce compliance, they could face disciplinary sanctions.90

68.  Local authorities imposed curfews, as well as pico y cédula (peak-and-ID) and pico y género (peak-and-gender),91 which restricted entry to supermarkets, pharmacies, banks, notaries, and malls based on the last digit of the person’s ID or their gender. These rules served to avoid a major influx of people in such places during the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio period. For example, in Bogotá, such measures helped reduce the influx of people in supermarkets between 35–45%.92

69.  Gender-based restrictions, such as pico y género, were publicly criticized by transgender groups. Although some municipalities allowed transgender and non-binary people to choose the day on which they were allowed to circulate,93 the implementation of this measure was deemed discriminatory.94 NGOs reported 20 episodes of violence and discrimination against trans people and sex workers just in Bogotá, including one case where a trans woman was stabbed by a man who considered she was on the streets on a day she was not allowed to be.95

70.  After assessing the specific impact of the pandemic in certain cities, the national Government also established various restrictions for municipalities. For low risk Covid19 municipalities, local authorities could lift mobility restrictions with the acquiescence of the Ministry of the Interior.96

71.  Resolutions 464/202097 and 844/202098 of the MHSP established one of the most controversial mobility restrictions. Through these, the MHSP ordered adults over 70 years old to comply with stricter preventive mandatory isolation rules, eg the prohibition of outdoor exercise. The MHSP alleged that such adults are more vulnerable to the virus, and therefore should stay at home to prevent infection.

72.  A group of 24 over 70-year-old adults challenged these measures via a tutela action (constitutional injunction), which is a constitutional complaint seeking the protection of constitutional rights.99 Among the plaintiffs were four former ministers, who considered that the MHSP discriminated against them on the basis of age, limiting their freedom of movement unreasonably and disproportionately. The First Instance Court100 and the Appellate Court101 granted the plaintiffs’ claims, and suspended the resolutions of the MHSP. The Colombian Constitutional Court is due to rule on the case in December 2021.102 Meanwhile, the suspension granted by the Appellate Court will remain in force.

2.  Restrictions on international and internal travel

73.  The first confirmed Covid-19 case in Colombia was reported on 6 March 2020.103 The patient was a Colombian citizen who arrived from Milan, Italy.104 The next few cases were also imported from European countries.105

74.  Because of that, the MHSP imposed several restrictions for all passengers arriving from Italy, Spain, France, and China, regardless of their nationality (10 March 2020).106 Passengers were required to quarantine and isolate for 14 days after their arrival. Health and migration authorities had to monitor compliance with those rules.107 Non-compliance could lead to criminal charges, fines, or deportation.108 The measure was supposed to last until 30 May 2020.109 However the Colombian Government issued Legislative Decree 439/2020,110 which suspended entry to Colombian territory for all travelers from abroad (20 March–21 September 2020). The only exceptions were passengers on humanitarian flights, air crew members, as well as technical and managerial staff from freight companies. These passengers also had to comply with the aforementioned quarantine and isolation rules. Decision C-157/2020 of the Constitutional Court declared this legislative decree constitutional.111

75.  Resolutions 1627/2020,112 1972/2020,113 2532/2020,114 and 002/2021115 of the MHSP established biosecurity protocol for air transport. Initially, all passengers had to present a negative PCR test in order to enter Colombian territory (21 September–6 November 2020).

76.  However, the MHSP, the Ministry of Transportation, and the Colombian Civil Aviation Authority later suspended the negative PCR requirement (6 November 2020).116

77.  This decision was challenged in court through a tutela action. An administrative judge of Bogotá ordered that every passenger over two-years old arriving into Colombian territory had to present a negative PCR test (2 December 2020).117 This decision was appealed by the MHSP, and revoked by the Administrative Tribunal of Cundinamarca.118 The Tribunal dismissed the tutela on procedural grounds (9 March 2021). In particular, it held that the petitioner (i) lacked standing because he did not prove that waiving the PCR test before entering the country injured any of his fundamental rights, and (ii) had not exhausted other administrative and judicial procedures before filing the tutela.

78.  Intermunicipal transit was also limited to prevent the spread of the virus.119 The national Government suspended domestic air travel,120 but gradually allowed intermunicipal overland transportation during the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio period (25 March–1 September 2020).

79.  Legislative Decree 482/2020 established that travel was only allowed for people who needed to access to, or provided, medical services, or were within the exceptions stated in preventive mandatory isolation decrees.121 Mass transportation systems could continue their operation at 50% capacity.122 In Decision C-185/2020, the Constitutional Court declared this legislative decree constitutional.123

3.  Limitations on public and private gatherings and events

80.  Public and private large-gathering events, were banned.

81.  According to the evolution of the pandemic, the MHSP limited the maximum number of attendees per event. Resolution 385/2020124 restricted public and private events of more than 500 people (12–17 March 2020). Resolution 450/2020 reduced such events to a maximum of 50 people (17 March 2020–25 February 2021).125

82.  Local authorities had to monitor events of less than 50 people to determine the risk of contagion and whether the event should be suspended.

83.  Resolution 222/2021 established a general prohibition on public and private large-gatherings, and recommended people not to conduct any social gatherings (25 February–31 May 2021).126 This Resolution considered a large-gathering any event where physical distancing could not be ensured.

4.  Closure of premises and facilities (eg schools, shops, services, parks, churches, sport facilities)

84.  Two weeks after the first confirmed Covid-19 case, the MHSP ordered the general closure of different premises and facilities (18 March–1 September 2020).127 Bars, clubs, casinos, billiards, and game rooms, were closed.128 In case these businesses provided food and drink services, such services were limited to delivery and take-out. The prohibition of providing dine-in services was extended to restaurants and bistros (25 March–1 September 2020).129 Gyms, public pools, spas, theme parks, cinemas, and theatres, were closed (25 March–1 September 2020).130 Sports events and religious services were also restricted (25 March–1 September 2020).131 In low risk Covid-19 municipalities, local authorities could lift these restrictions with the acquiescence of the Ministry of the Interior, with the exception of serving alcoholic beverages.132

85.  As a consequence of general isolation and quarantine ordered during the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio, schools could not offer in-person services.133 For that purpose, the Ministry of Education modified the academic calendar to grant three weeks of recess for schools to develop remote and flexible courses.134 In-person and remote education are both still in effect. Conversely, restrictions on museums and libraries were lifted on 16 July 2020.135

5.  Physical distancing

86.  Resolution 666/2020 establishes the general biosecurity protocol to prevent contagion.136 Physical distancing is one of the three general measures implemented in all economic sectors. Among the physical distancing guidelines are: (i) workers should keep a two-metre distance between each other; (ii) employers should limit the number of workers who are physically present in the workplace; (iii) the prohibition of meetings where a two-metre distance cannot be ensured; inter alia. Specific physical distancing measures in each economic sector were adopted by their respective biosecurity protocol.137

6.  Use of face coverings and personal protective equipment (PPE)

87.  Resolution 666/2020 also establishes the use of facemasks as a general measure for all economic sectors.138 In particular, on public transportation and in places with a high-influx of people, the use of facemasks is mandatory. The MHSP allowed the use of conventional face coverings as well as cloth facemasks. In addition, employers had to provide workers with adequate PPE according to their level of risk, as well as ensuring its continuous availability. Specific measures on the use of face coverings and PPE in each economic sector were adopted by their respective biosecurity protocol.139 Local authorities could enforce more stringent rules on the use of facemasks. For example, the Major of Bogotá required everyone to wear a facemask if not at their private home.140

7.  Isolation of infected individuals and quarantine of individuals suspected of infection

88.  Although Law 9/1979 and Decree 780/2016 do use the two categories of isolation and quarantine distinctively, legal measures adopted during the statutory state of health emergency did not differentiate between isolation and quarantine.141 Resolution 380/2020 established that every passenger arriving from China, Italy, France, or Spain should ‘quarantine and isolate in their homes or any transitory housing funded by themselves’.142 Similarly, Resolution 385/2020 required all international passengers to ‘quarantine and isolate’ for 14 days.143 The only substantive distinction was based on the nationality of passengers—while Colombian travellers were allowed to quarantine in their final destination, non-nationals had to quarantine in the city in which they first arrived or they could return to their home countries.144

8.  Testing, treatment, and vaccination

89.  The Government issued Decree 476/2020 to confer upon the MHSP and the Food and Drugs National Institute (INVIMA) powers to facilitate approval for fabrication, import, and commercialization of drugs, medical equipment, and in vitro chemicals necessary to prevent, diagnose, and treat Covid-19 (25 March 2020).145

90.  The Constitutional Court declared this decree unconstitutional.146 They considered the powers conferred unnecessary because the measures intended were within the scope of the ordinary competences of the MHSP and the INVIMA.147

91.  Decree 538/2020 adopted measures to guarantee access to healthcare services (12 April 2020–present).148 This decree (i) authorized private healthcare institutions to provide medical services in locations not previously designed for performing healthcare services, (ii) allowed the MHSP and local authorities to allocate financial resources to guarantee the uninterrupted provision of medical services, (iii) ordered medical institutions to provide telemedicine services, inter alia.149

92.  In Decision C-252/2020, the Constitutional Court upheld the constitutionality of most of the provisions established by this legislative decree.150 Only Article 15 of Decree 538/2020 was declared partially unconstitutional. The Court stated that the authorization to use emergency funds to pay previous state debts to health care institutions was not sufficiently related to overcoming the emergency.

93.  The Colombian Congress issued Statutory Act 2064/2020 on 9 December 2020.151 This Act prescribes that vaccines shall be free and will be administered according to a rollout plan set by the MHSP. That plan was adopted by Decrees 109/2021152 and 630/2021,153 and is composed of two phases and five stages.154 The following table shows the evolution of vaccination plan:

Eligibility criteria

Date

Phase 1 – Stage 1

Adults over 80 years old and frontline health care workers.

17 February 2021

Phase 1 – Stage 2

Adults of 60–79 years old, health care workers, clinical medicine and health care students, and providers of traditional medicine.

8 March 2021

Phase 1 – Stage 3

Adults of 50–59 years old, all people of 12–59 years who have an underlying medical condition associated with higher risk for severe Covid-19 disease, staff and faculty members of educational institutions, police and military members, members of indigenous guards, and other public officials, inter alia.

22 May 2021

Phase 2 – Stage 4

Adults of 40–49 years old, prison inmates, prison officers, homeless people, pilots and other crew members of passenger, freight, and cargo companies, inter alia.

17 June 2021

Phase 2 – Stage 5

All of the population of 12 years old and older.

17 July 2021

94.  By December 2021, Colombia had administered more than 58 million doses of Covid-19 vaccines, and more than 25 million Colombians had completed the vaccination scheme.

9.  Contact tracing procedures

95.  The MHSP implemented a specific tracking program for Covid-19 cases (PRASS).155 PRASS was designed on three axis: testing, tracing, and isolation. First, testing was required for every possible Covid-19 case, including close contacts, regardless of the vaccination status or symptomatology of the patient. For PRASS purposes, only PCR and antigen tests were valid. Second, contact tracing was required for every suspected, possible, or confirmed Covid-19 case. Local authorities and health care institutions were mostly responsible for contract tracing. Finally, isolation was required for confirmed cases and for close contact cases. To ensure compliance with the isolation measure, authorities could exceptionally provide patients with a physical space in which to isolate (eg hotels) or financial assistance to do so. Asymptomatic, symptomatic patients, and close contacts had to remain in isolation for 14, 10, or 7 days according to the evolution of the pandemic.156

10.  Measures in long-term care facilities or homes for the elderly, restrictions on visitors, etc.

96.  Resolution 470/2020157 established two restrictions on the operation of care facilities for the elderly (21 March–31 August 2020).158 On the one hand, residents of long-term care facilities had to ‘quarantine and isolate’ as a preventive measure.159 Elderly residents could exceptionally leave the premises (i) to use financial services necessary to satisfy their basic needs; (ii) to access health care services that could not be provided in long-term care facilities; and (iii) in cases where there was an unforeseeable circumstance or force majeure. Access to visitors and non-essential workers of long-term care facilities was banned. On the other hand, the MHSP suspended the operation of short-term care facilities but for domiciliary feeding services.

B.  Enforcement and Compliance

1.  Enforcement

97.  The national Government delegated the responsibility to monitor compliance with public health measures to different national and local authorities.160 At the national level, (i) Migration Colombia was in charge of monitoring travellers arriving from abroad complied with isolation and quarantine measures, inter alia; and (ii) the National Health Institute (INS) had to process all PCR tests and verify that other laboratory facilities had the technical capacity to process such tests.

98.  Local authorities were delegated most of the enforcement responsibility. Since the start of the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio (25 March 2020), majors and governors had to monitor general compliance with national isolation and quarantine rules.161 If majors and governors failed to ensure compliance, they could be subject to disciplinary sanctions.162

99.  There are no specific measures regarding the role of the police or the military. However, in exercise of their ordinary constitutional and statutory public order powers (eg curfews, public gathering restrictions, inter alia), local authorities could coordinate with the police and military forces on the implementation of compliance measures.163

100.  Non-compliant individuals could be subject to criminal sanction and fines.164 In particular, according to Article 368 of the Criminal Code, individuals could face a sentence of four to eight years in prison for violating public health measures.165

2.  Compliance

101.  There is no official data about compliance with mobility restrictions and other public health measures. Profamilia, a non-profit organization, published the results of the Solidarity Survey I (April 20202) and II (September 2020), which provide a little insight on this issue.166 The table below shows the most relevant results of both surveys:

Measure

Compliance – Solidarity Survey I

Compliance – Solidarity Survey II

Use of face coverings

67%

95%

Non-attendance of social gatherings and events

73%

84%

Avoidance of using public transportation

62%

72%

Compliance with isolation and quarantine rules

70%

77%

Avoidance of contact with people with flu-like symptoms

59%

64%

102.  By the end of the aislamiento preventivo obligatorio (1 September 2020), the most common reasons for infringing isolation and quarantine rules were: to go to school/work (65%), to use financial services (45%), to access health care services (33%), due to anxiety/depression (24%), to look for a job (15%), inter alia.167

Prof. Carlos Bernal, University of Dayton, School of Law

Mr. Diego González Medina, Colombian Constitutional Court

Ms. María Fernanda Barraza Díaz, LL.M. Candidate, University of Cornell, School of Law

Mr. Sebastián Rubiano-Groot, Colombian Constitutional Court

Footnotes:

1  1991 Constitution of Colombia, (Constitución Política de Colombia de 1991).

5  1991 Constitution of Colombia, arts 11–94.

7  1991 Constitution of Colombia, arts 303–305.

8  1991 Constitution of Colombia, arts 314-315.

9  Decision T-760/2008 (Constitutional Court).

10  1991 Constitution of Colombia, arts 44, 50, 52, 64, 336, 356.

14  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 417 of 2020 (Decreto 417 de 2020).

15  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 637 of 2020 (Decreto 637 de 2020).

16  Statutory Act 137 of 1994, art 4; Decision C-135/09 (Colombian Constitutional Court).

25  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

26  The state of health emergency has been extended by the Minister of Health and Social Protection through Resolution 844/2020; Resolution 1462/2020; Resolution 2230/2020; Resolution 222/2021; Resolution 738/2021; and Resolution 1315/2021.

27  Statutory Act 1751 of 2015 (Ley 1751 de 2015).

28  Statutory Act 9 of 1979 (Ley 9 de 1979), arts 488, 489, 490.

29  Statutory Act 9 of 1979, art 591.

30  Statutory Act 1753 of 2015 (Ley 1753 de 2015), art 69.

31  Statutory Act 2064 of 2020 (Ley 2064 de 2020).

33  1991 Constitution of Colombia, arts 212–215.

34  Ministry of Health and Social Protection, ‘Measures to Combat Covid-19’ (Medidas frente a la pandemia Covid-19) (accessed 27 October 2021).

35  Government of Colombia, ‘What is COVID-19?’ (accessed 27 October 2021).

36  Constitutional Court of Colombia, ‘Statistics’ (Estadísticas) (accessed 27 October 2021).

37  Statutory Act 1436 of 2011 (Ley 1436 de 2011), art 136.

38  Supreme Administrative Court, ‘Report of Immediate Judicial Review regarding Covid-19 regulations’ (4 December 2020).

39  Ministry of Health and Social Protection, ‘Covid-19 Technical Documents’ (Documentos Técnicos Covid-19) (accessed 27 October 2021).

43  1991 Constitution of Colombia, art 215; Statutory Act 137 of 1994 (Ley 137 de 1994), art 48; Ministry of Internal Affairs, ‘Report on the causes of the emergency declaration’ (accessed 18 February 2022).

44  1991 Constitution of Colombia, art 215; Statutory Act 137 of 1994 (Ley 137 de 1994), art 48.

45  Statutory Act 137 of 1994 (Ley 137 de 1994), art 48.

46  Directive Board of the Senate, Resolution 005, 6 May 2021 (accessed 18 February 2022).

47  House of Representatives accidental commission may be consulted at Accidental Commission Reports (accessed 18 February 2022).

48  House of Representatives accidental commission may be consulted at Accidental Commission Reports (accessed 18 February 2022).

49  The videos of this session may be consulted at Colombian Senate, ‘Plenary session of 11 August 2020’ (accessed 18 February 2022); see also, Colombian House of Representatives, ‘Plenary session of 6 June 2020 and 6 August 2020’ (accessed 18 February 2022).

51  ‘Visible Congress’ Team, Legislative Balance Report 2019–20 (Balance Legislatura 2019-2020) (7 July 2020).

52  ‘Visible Congress’ Team, Legislative Balance Report 2019–20 (Balance Legislatura 2019-2020) (7 July 2020).

53  Colombian House of Representatives, Annual Accountability Report 2020.

54  Decision C-242/2020 (Constitutional Court).

55  Decision C-242/2020 (Constitutional Court), para 4.24. of the decision summarizes the arguments of the Congressman that considered Article 12 of Decree 491/2020 unconstitutional.

56  Decision C-242/2020 (Constitutional Court).

57  Administrative Council of the Judiciary, Directive 11518/2020 (Acuredo 11518 de 2020) (16 March 2020).

58  Administrative Council of the Judiciary, Directive 11518/2020 (Acuerdo 11518 de 2020) (16 March 2020).

59  Administrative Council of the Judiciary, Directive 11567/2020; see also, for other biosecurity measures, Administrative Council of the Judiciary, ‘Biosecurity measures of the Judiciary’ (accessed 18 February 2022).

60  Legislative Decree 806 of 2020 (Decreto 806 de 2020).

61  Administrative Council of the Judiciary, Annual Report 2020.

62  Corporation for the Excellence of Justice, ‘COVID challenges for the judiciary’ (accessed 18 February 2022).

63  Constitutional Court of Colombia, ‘Statistics’ (Estadísticas) (accessed 27 October 2021).

64  Statutory Act 1436 of 2011 (Ley 1436 de 2011), art 136.

65  Supreme Administrative Court, ‘Report of Immediate Judicial Review regarding Covid-19 regulations’ (4 December 2020).

66  Ministry of Internal Affairs, ‘Community Board Elections postponed’ (accessed 18 February 2022).

67  Legislative Decree 780 of 2016 (Decreto 780 de 2016).

68  Legislative Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020).

69  Legislative Decree 464 of 2020 (Decreto 464 de 2020).

70  Organisation for the Free Press, ‘Recommendations to Guarantee the Coverage of the Vaccination Plan’ (Recomendaciones para garantizar el cubrimiento del plan de vacunación) (28 September 2021).

71  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 844 of 2020 (Resolución 844 de 2020).

72  Organisation for the Free Press, ‘Recommendations to Guarantee the Coverage of the Vaccination Plan’ (28 September 2021).

73  Statutory Act 491 of 2020 (Ley 491 de 2020).

74  Transparency for Colombia, ‘The Impact of the Pandemic to the right to access public information’ (2020).

75  Organisation for the Free Press, ‘Recommendations to Guarantee the Coverage of the Vaccination Plan’ (28 September 2021).

76  Office of the Inspector General of Colombia, ‘Actions of the Inspector General against Covid-19’ (Acciones de la Procuraduría contra el Covid-19) (accessed 27 October 2021).

77  Office of the Comptroller General of Colombia, Directive 6 of 2020 (19 March 2020).

78  Office of the Comptroller General of Colombia, Annual Accountability Report 2020.

79  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020; Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020) .

80  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

82  See President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

83  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020).

84  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020).

85  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020).

86  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020).

87  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020).

88  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

89  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

90  Bogotá Capital District Council, ‘Pico Y Género: The New Rules on Movement of Persons in Bogotá’ (Pico Y Género: La Nueva Medida De Circulación De Personas En Bogotá) (10 April 2020).

91  Bogotá District Capital, ‘What are and how do gender-based mobility restrictions work during lockdown?’ (¿Qué es y cómo funciona la restricción de género durante la cuarentena?) (13 April 2020).

92 Was Pico Y Género as effective as Bogotá says? Data suggests otherwise’ (¿El Pico y Género fue tan exitoso como asegura la Alcaldía? Los datos muestran otra cosa) CeroSetenta (Online, 15 May 2020).

93  Bogotá District Capital, ‘What are and how do gender-based mobility restrictions work during lockdown?’ (¿Qué es y cómo funciona la restricción de género durante la cuarentena?) (13 April 2020).

94 What’s been the impact of Bogotá’s pico y género’ The Bogotá Post (Online, 24 April 2020).

96  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

97  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 464 of 2020 (Resolución 464 de 2020).

98  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 844 of 2020 (Resolución 844 de 2020).

99  Hommes Rodriguez v The President of the Republic, Tutela motion (June 2020).

100  Hommes Rodríguez v The President of the Republic, Tutela 061-2020 (Administrative Court of Bogotá) (2 July 2020).

101  Hommes Rodríguez v The President of the Republic, Tutela 061-2020 (Cundinamarca Administrative Appellate Tribunal) (10 August 2020).

102  Hommes Rodríguez v The President of the Republic, T-8023514 (Constitutional Court) (December 2021).

103  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, ‘Colombia confirms its first case of Covid-19’ (Colombia confirma su primer caso de Covid-19) (6 March 2020).

104  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, ‘Colombia confirms its first case of Covid-19’ (6 March 2020).

105  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, ‘Health Ministry confirms six new cases of Covid-19 in Colombia’ (Minsalud confirma seis nuevos casos de coronavirus (Covid-19) en Colombia) (11 March 2020).

106  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

107  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

108  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

109  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

110  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 439 of 2020 (Decreto 439 de 2020).

111  Decision C-157/2020 (Constitutional Court).

112  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 1627 of 2020 (Resolución 1627 de 2020).

113  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 1972 of 2020 (Resolución 1972 de 2020).

114  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 2532 of 2020 (Resolución 2532 de 2020).

115  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 2 of 2021 (Resolución 2 de 2021).

116  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 1972 of 2020 (Resolución 1972 de 2020).

117  Mebarak v MHSP, Tutela 2020-00310 (Bogotá Circuit District Court) (2 December 2020).

118  González Mebarak v MHSP, Tutela 2020-00310-01 (Administrative Tribunal of Cundinamarca) (9 March 2021).

119  Mebarak v MHSP, Tutela 2020-00310 (Bogotá Circuit District Court) (2 December 2020).

120  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

121  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 482 of 2020 (Decreto 482 de 2020).

122  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 482 of 2020 (Decreto 482 de 2020).

123  Decision C-185/2020 (Constitutional Court).

124  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

125  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 450 of 2020 (Resolución 450 de 2020).

126  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 222 of 2021 (Resolución 222 de 2021).

127  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 453 of 2020 (Resolución 453 de 2021).; the duration of this measure was extended by Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

128  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 453 of 2020 (Resolución 453 de 2021).

129  See President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

130  See President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

131  See President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

132  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

133  See President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020); Decree 593 of 2020 (Decreto 593 de 2020); Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 de 2020); Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020); and Decree 1076 of 2020 (Decreto 1076 de 2020).

134  Colombian Ministry of Education, Circular 011 of 2020.

135  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 990 of 2020 (Decreto 990 de 2020).

136  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 666 of 2020 (Resolución 666 de 2020).

138  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 666 of 2020 (Resolución 666 de 2020).

140  See Bogota, Capital District, Decree 169 of 2020 (Decreto 169 de 2020).

141  See Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020); and Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

142  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

143  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

144  Colombian Minister of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 385 of 2020 (Resolución 385 de 2020).

145  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 476 of 2020 (Decreto 476 de 2020).

146  Colombian Constitutional Court, Decision C-155/2020 (accessed 28 October 2021).

147  Colombian Constitutional Court, Decision C-155/2020 (accessed 28 October 2021).

148  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 538 of 2020 (Decreto 538 de 2020).

149  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 538 of 2020 (Decreto 538 de 2020).

150  Decision C-252/2020 (Constitutional Court).

151  Congress of the Republic of Colombia, Statutory Act 2064 of 2020 (Ley 2064 de 2020).

152  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Decree 109 of 2021 (Decreto 109 de 2021).

153  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Decree 630 of 2021 (Decreto 630 of 2021).

154  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, ‘Vaccination against Covid-19’ (Vacunación contra Covid-19) (accessed 28 October 2021).

155  See Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Decree 1109 of 2020 (Decreto 1109 de 2020); and ‘PRASS operative manual’ (Manual Operativo PRASS) (accessed 6 December 2021).

156 Ministry of Health announces changes on PRASS’ (Minsalud anuncia cambios en lineamientos de aislamiento y toma de pruebas), Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia (Online, 7 January 2022).

157  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Resolution 470 of 2020 (Resolución 470 of 2021).

158  The duration of this measure was extended by Resolution 844/2020.

159  Ministry of Health and Social Protection of Colombia, Resolution 470 of 2020 (Resolución 470 of 2021).

160  See Colombian Ministry of Health and Social Protection, Resolution 380 of 2020 (Resolución 380 de 2020).

161  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020); and Decree 749 of 2020 (Decreto 749 of 2020).

162  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 457 of 2020 (Decreto 457 de 2020).

163  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 420 of 2020 (Decreto 420 de 2020).

164  President of the Republic of Colombia, Decree 531 of 2020 (Decreto 531 de 2020).

165  Criminal Code of Colombia, art 368.

166  Profamilia, Solidarity Survey II (Estudio Solidaridad II) (accessed 6 December 2021).

167  Profamilia, Solidarity Survey II (Estudio Solidaridad II) (accessed 6 December 2021).