Colombia death toll from Covid-19 tops 100,000

Aerial view showing relatives of Covid-19 victims spreading their ashes in holes where they plant trees during a tribute to their loved ones and as part of the Ashes Fountain of Life program of the environmental NGO Colombia Reserva de Vida at the natural reserve of Paramo de Guerrero in Cogua municipality, near Bogota on June 21, 2021. – Colombia has officially recorded more than 100,000 Covid-19 deaths. (Photo by Raul ARBOLEDA / AFP)

BOGOTA, Colombia (AFP) — Colombia’s death toll from Covid-19 passed the 100,000 mark on Monday with a new 24-hour record of almost 650 deaths, the health ministry said.

After three weeks of demonstrations that have brought thousands of people into the streets to protest the government of conservative President Ivan Duque, the South American country of 50 million is suffering its worst moment since the pandemic began.

It has now recorded 100,582 dead, including 648 in the past 24 hours, the ministry said.

In proportion to its population, Colombia is reporting the fourth worst death toll in Latin America and the Caribbean, and the sixth for the number of infections, according to an AFP count.

“More than 10,000 deaths could have been avoided if we had not had these gatherings in the past six or seven weeks,” Duque said in a statement.

The health authorities identified a resurgence of the virus in early April, and slapped restrictive measures such as a nightly curfew on the main cities.

But since April 28, thousands of Colombians have turned out to protest in the street, spurred on by a heavy handed police response, even as the government scrapped a controversial tax hike.

© Agence France-Presse