March 23, 2020

COVID-19 social roundtable is launched and agrees to meet twice a week

COVID-19 social roundtable is launched and agrees to meet twice a week
The roundtable includes government officials, mayors, academics and health professionals and is intended to be a space for coordination and collaboration in order to effectively address the viral outbreak.

Representatives from associations of municipalities, university rectors, the president of the medical association Colegio Médico, former Health Minister Carmen Castillo, and the PAHO/WHO representative in Chile went to La Moneda Palace to meet with Interior Minister Gonzalo Blumel, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich and Science Minister Andrés Couve.

“We’ve just set up the COVID-19 Social Roundtable as a space for dialogue, coordination and collaboration so we can jointly and, as effectively as possible, address the pandemic we are experiencing, not only in Chile, but also at the global level,” said Minister Blumel.

Roundtable members will meet twice a week in order to strengthen the COVID-19 Action Plan and, above all else, to transmit certainties and fundamentally guarantee the protection of the population’s health, explained the minister.

After the meeting, Izkia Siches, the president of the Colegio Médico, stated “we have white smoke. We appreciate the efforts made by Minister Blumel and the mayors to create this space for dialogue.  We at the Colegio Médico are available to collaborate and fight this COVID-19 pandemic. This requires a collaborative effort.”

Dr. Siches also called on the people of Chile, saying that “beyond the Government measures, a good result is going to depend on the people following the guidelines, making sure they are informed and showing a caring and a cooperative attitude.”  She added, “I’ve put the dispute with the Health Ministry behind me.  This roundtable guarantees that we can present our opinions, and that those of us who are members of this body are interested in accomplishing them.”

Meanwhile, Fernando Leanes, PAHO/WHO representative in Chile, praised the maturity and agreement reached to conduct a complex epidemiological process, for which the country, the Government and the Health Ministry have high expectations.  “These are huge challenges. What is being proposed here is in line with what World Health Organization proposals, which is to identify the people with COVID-19, and those who have been in contact with them, in order to isolate them,” he said.

The international representative also stated that “a general quarantine, without precise objectives, for people without COVID-19, is not recommendable at this time in Chile.  No one at this roundtable has proposed this.  There was popular demand for this because of what is happening in other countries.  But, for each measure, the fundamental thing is to define enforceability and feasibility.”

For his part, the mayor of Puente Alto (part of the Metropolitan Region) and president of the Chilean Association of Municipalities, Germán Codina, said “we believe that what Minister Blumel and the government are fine-tuning, the progressive implementation of quarantine, is the right thing.”