BOGOTA, Colombia

Colombian President Ivan Duque announced Friday a countrywide lockdown as it seeks to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

The quarantine beginning March 25 will last 19 days. The capital of Bogota and other regions began holding four-day quarantine drills Friday through the weekend.

“It is time to understand that our behavior saves lives,” said Duque during a televised address where he described measures as tough but urgent to protect lives. “The measure seeks to protect us as a society, guaranteeing the supply of food, access to medicines, and essential public services.”

Health unions sent a letter to

Read more: Colombia announces lockdown as coronavirus cases surge