Following the COVID-19 Emergency Committee meeting presided over by President Sebastián Piñera, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich provided the daily report and announced new health measures to control the spread of the disease.
The Health Minister announced that as of 10 pm this Thursday, April 16, total quarantine will be decreed for the following areas in the Metropolitan Region: the whole of the municipality of El Bosque and the north-eastern part of San Bernardo (from the Central Highway southwards as far as Av. Colón and from Av. Colón northwards). Quarantine will also be declared for the urban part of Arica. This is because “we’ve seen an increase in the incidence of cases over the last 15 days,” the Minister explained.
Minister Mañalich also announced that on Thursday quarantine will be lifted for the districts of Las Condes, San Pedro de la Paz, Hualpén, Padre las Casas and Nueva Imperial.
Quarantine will continue to be in place in: Osorno, Punta Arenas, Temuco, Chillán and Chillán Viejo, the western part of Puente Alto and the northern part of Ñuñoa and the district of Santiago.
The criteria for applying quarantine measures are based on the incidence of new cases, the speed at which the disease is spreading, the density of cases per km2, the age profile of the population in the area (senior citizens, people with chronic diseases) and social vulnerability, among other factors.
“The trend in new coronavirus cases, observing the two previous weeks, as they are active cases that can infect other people; the actual incidence of cases per 100,000 inhabitants and the fragility of the district” in terms of how many at-risk people live in the area, such as senior citizens, chronically sick people etc.
The Health Minister stated that the strategic and dynamic quarantine that is being implemented in Chile “is going in the right direction and is making it possible for the numbers that we are observing to be lower than those that we thought we were going to have in our country,” he said.
He added that the quarantine measure is applied gradually because quarantine has collateral or harmful effects even on people’s health. It tends to lead to an increase in domestic violence and people turning to drug and alcohol consumption and it also generates problems in terms of getting hold of basic food and cleaning products.
The Minister also announced that the border closure is to be extended until April 22 (and could be extended further). This measure means that tourists cannot enter Chile and obliges Chileans and foreign residents who enter the country to undergo 14 days’ quarantine.
The Minister emphasized that all the other isolation measures continue, such as the use of masks in crowded places and on public and private hire transportation, curfew and mandatory quarantine for senior citizens, as well as the cordons sanitaires and sanitary customs posts implemented in some areas.
Health Minister Jaime Mañalich announced that yesterday 392 new cases of COVID-19 had been recorded, bringing to 7,917 the total number of people diagnosed in Chile. Of them, 2,646 (33%) are considered to be recovered and 5,179 active or contagious.
At present, 379 people are in hospital, of whom 323 are connected to mechanical ventilators.
There are currently 564 mechanical ventilators available in the integrated healthcare network.
The Minister also regretted the death of 10 people during the last 24 hours. This means that so far the deaths of 92 people have been registered as due to this disease.
As of today the laboratories have provided the results for 87,800 CRP tests, 2,759 of which came in yesterday.
Meanwhile Minister Mañalich reiterated that as of Friday, COVID-19 antibody tests will start to be used in places where quarantine is beginning to be lifted, in order to determine the population that has had the disease and is not at risk of becoming infected.