By means of Resolution 385 of 2020, the Ministry of Health and Social Protection declared a health emergency due to the Coronavirus COVID-19. Consequently, the national government has been taking measures to identify, confirm, isolate and monitor possible cases in the country. Given the significance of the health situation in the world and in Colombia, we consider that the measures taken by national and local governments are necessary and adequate to prevent the virus from spreading rapidly. These measures have been thought and planned to respond to the needs of the Colombian population.

For instance, one of the measures taken by the national government is the use of Information and Communication Technologies (TIC, for its acronym in Spanish) in work environments. This measure aims to minimize the contact of people in workspaces so that workers and public servants can fulfill their obligations and carry out their functions and activities regularly. Based on the above, the government has been taking similar measures in different industries such as the extractive industry.

One of these measures is the one taken by means of External Circular OFI 2020-7728-DCP 2500 of the Ministry of the Interior. The government considers ethnic communities as one of the population´s group that is in a greater degree of vulnerability from the spread of COVID-19, therefore it determined that the Directorate of the National Authority for Prior Consultation should suspend the verification visits and prior consultation processes in all stages, and suspend the agenda of meetings at the facilities of the Directorate from March 16 to March 30, 2020.

Likewise, Resolution 096 dated March 16, 2020 issued by the National Mining Agency (ANM, for its acronym in Spanish) determined that attention to the public in all ANM quarters will be suspended from March 17 to April 01, 2020. In addition, Resolution 096 also suspended until April 1, 2020 all administrative proceedings initiated before the ANM as well as the terms that the holders, applicants and bidders of mining titles have, to comply with the technical and legal requirements demanded by the mining authority and to file the appeals that may exist. Likewise, Resolution 096 suspended the proceedings and administrative procedures and field visits of the ANM  and the terms for coercive collection processes carried out by the mining authority.

The declaration of the World Health Organization that establishes that COVID-19 is a pandemic due to the speed of its propagation, is enough reason for national and local governments to make the necessary determinations and measures to take care of their citizens and to mitigate contagion.