April 16, 2020

Chile’s Health Ministry announces that using masks in enclosed public spaces is to be mandatory

Chile’s Health Ministry announces that using masks in enclosed public spaces is to be mandatory
These include elevators and places where there are more than 10 people, like supermarkets, banks, shops, educational establishments, etc. It also announced that as of Monday the COVID-19 ID card will be provided to people who have recovered.

Following the COVID-19 Emergency Committee meeting presided over by President Sebastián Piñera, the Health officials provided the daily report on the epidemiological situation of the disease in Chile. Minister Jaime Mañalich announced that the use of masks is to be mandatory in all enclosed public spaces where there are more than 10 people, like supermarkets, banks, malls and on public transportation.

The minister added that the measure will apply in the elevators of residential and public buildings - in those cases “even if the person is on their own”, the Minister explained.

The Minister added that educational and sporting facilities, airports, hotels, etc. are also included.

Masks will be mandatory in “all healthcare establishments, all places where food is manufactured and processed and for personnel who work in senior citizens’ residential homes. This is a mandatory use; people cannot make their own decision. And checks will be made.”

The Health Minister also announced that as of this Monday the COVID-19 ID card will be provided to people who are considered to have recovered, that is those who have stopped transmitting the virus to others, an important aspect in determining the end of mandatory quarantine.

COVID-19 Report

The Health officials reported that yesterday 534 new cases of COVID-19 had been recorded, bringing the total number of people diagnosed in Chile to 8,807. Of them, 3,299 (37%) are considered to have recovered, which is to say 14 days have elapsed since they were diagnosed.

At present, 384 people are in hospital, of whom 313 are connected to mechanical ventilators and 90 are in a critical condition.

Healthcare Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga regretted the death of 11 people in the last 24 hours. They bring the total number of fatalities to 105. Two of the people who died were from the Valparaíso Region, another two were from the Ñuble Region and seven were from the Metropolitan Region. Most of them were aged over 65.

The Undersecretary alerted the public, saying “I want to appeal again to the general public to take care of our parents and grandparents. It is senior citizens who are at greatest risk from this pandemic and so it is vital that we take care of them.”

As of today, the laboratories have provided the results for 98,424 CRP tests, 6,551 of which came in yesterday. The positive test rate is 8%.

Turning to the subject of ventilators, Undersecretary Zúñiga said that there are currently 569 units available in the integrated healthcare network.

The Undersecretary also thanked Chile’s healthcare workers for their hard work and condemned the incidents in which some workers had suffered discrimination in public spaces and in their own buildings or neighborhoods. “They cannot be victims of discrimination when they are saving lives,” he concluded.


Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza reiterated that as of 10 pm today quarantine will be in force for: the north-eastern part of San Bernardo, the municipality of El Bosque in the Metropolitan Region and the urban part of the municipality of Arica.

The following districts will remain in quarantine for another seven days as of today: the northern part of Ñuñoa and the municipality of Santiago, the western part of Puente Alto and the municipalities of Temuco, Osorno and Punta Arenas.

Today quarantine ends in Las Condes, San Pedro de la Paz, Nueva Imperial, Padre Las Casas and Hualpén.

«It is very important to remember that people in the districts where quarantine is in force can in exceptional cases request permits from the virtual police station. However, these permits are for basic needs and it is fundamental that their use is careful and restricted,” said Undersecretary Daza. She added that the spirit of quarantine is that people stay at home to reduce the spread of the coronavirus both within and outside those districts.

Meanwhile, the Undersecretary explained that in those districts where quarantine is being lifted, all the restriction measures that are in place must be retained and people “must avoid crowding, meetings, contact with other people and they must wash their hands constantly and, above all, take care of senior citizens.”