Health Minister Jaime Mañalich has announced new measures for combating COVID-19 in Chile following a meeting at La Moneda Palace with the Emergency Council presided over by President Sebastián Piñera.
Among the announcements, the Minister stated that the total quarantine in Chillán, Chillán Viejo and Osorno, which had been due to end tomorrow, will be renewed for another week until Monday, April 13. He added that a cordon sanitaire is to be put around the district of Hualpén in the Biobío Region, like the one already in place for San Pedro. Furthermore, the quarantine will apply to both places for 7 days as of 10 pm tomorrow. “These are neighboring districts and their infection rates for the disease are very similar,” explained the minister.
The Minister added that the quarantine in Puerto Williams will end at 10 pm tomorrow, as no new cases have arisen. As regards Rapa Nui (Easter Island), the quarantine and daytime curfew are to be lifted, “so the island will have the same curfew conditions as the rest of the country, that is from ten o’clock at night until the following morning,” said the Minister. He added that sanitary customs points will be implemented on the island, in the ports and at the airport.
The Minister said that because of the laxity in the provision of permits for circulating in areas under quarantine, the Interior Minister is going to restrict their use in order to decrease the number of people circulating in areas under quarantine.
The Health Minister made an important recommendation for Easter: «We are appealing for responsibility, especially from the authorities of the different churches in the country - the Christian churches in this case because of the celebration of Easter. We are asking them to hold their ceremonies with the minimum possible number of people.»
During the last 24 hours, 310 new COVID-19 cases have been registered, which brings the total number of people diagnosed with the disease to 4,471. At present, 307 people are in hospital, of whom 252 are connected to mechanical ventilators and 36 of them are in a critical condition.
Minister Mañalich regretted to announce the death of seven people. This means «the total number of people who have died has increased to 34 in the last 24 hours. One of the people who died was from the Metropolitan Region, another from Maule, one from Los Lagos and four people were from La Araucanía. All of them were senior citizens.
The number of people who are currently infected with the virus is 3,839 people out of the total of 4,471, “so just over 11% are no longer infected with the disease,” he said.
Since the epidemic in Chile began until today, the laboratories have analyzed 51,956 CRP diagnostic tests.
With regard to the use of masks, the Health Ministry said that new recommendations have been made by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) that state that “the use of masks by all citizens when they are in places with concentrations of people is absolutely prudent,” said Minister Mañalich. People can wear a surgical mask or one made at home according to recommendations by specialists.