Today the Government announced measures for avoiding people crowding together in food wholesale and distribution centers, particularly Santiago’s Vega Central market, given that the municipality where it is located, Recoleta, will begin a seven-day quarantine tomorrow.
The decision will also extend to cemeteries, because the authorities are expecting an increase in visitor flow at such locations for Mother’s Day.
The announcement came after it was determined yesterday that the Metropolitan Region municipalities of Cerrillos, Quilicura and Recoleta will begin a quarantine at 10 pm on Tuesday, while the quarantine already in place in the municipality of Santiago will be extended. This is also the case for the urban section of Antofagasta and the municipality of Mejillones.
“President Piñera’s Government will take whatever measures are necessary to safeguard people’s health,” stated Crime Prevention Undersecretary Katherine Martorell. She added, “the guidelines will establish that wholesale outlets in the various regions may be open under very important health restrictions.”
Undersecretary Martorell explained that progress has been made with representatives from the Vega Central market in Santiago and the municipality of Recoleta to the effect that “people will work every other day, and every other point of sale will be open. There will also be many health measures in place inside the market, as well as limits on the number of people who can enter.”
She added that for municipalities in the Metropolitan Region that are in quarantine, “the cemeteries are excluded” but that “special measures will be taken for Mother’s Day because we want to avoid crowds.”
Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza said, “we hope people will respond well. We have seen a lack of respect for the quarantine measures in many municipalities, mainly in the Metropolitan Region.”
“As of today, the regional health ministries in every region of Chile will engage in much more rigorous monitoring of people and businesses and the law will be applied with full force. Penalties will range from fines of up to 1,000 UTM* to prison terms. This is to make people respect the quarantine rules. It isn’t ideal, but if we have to take such measures, we will,” the Undersecretary stated.
Speaking about the COVID-19 situation in Chile, Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza announced that 980 new cases have been reported nationwide during the last 24 hours. Of these 876 are people who have tested CRP positive and have symptoms of the virus, while 104 have also tested positive but have no symptoms. The total number of people who have been diagnosed to date is 20,643 people.
The Undersecretary stated that the Metropolitan Region continues to have the largest number of active cases and that the increase in testing for COVID-19 has been significant in some regions. She cited Tarapacá as an example, where in the last 24 hours, 30 tests have been performed on individuals who had been in close contact with someone with the virus. These tests had resulted in the identification of 22 asymptomatic positive cases. She said that there will be an increase in the number of cases without symptoms over the next few days due to the active search that is being conducted.
She added that the number of patients who have recovered from COVID-19 accounts for 50% of the confirmed cases. This means that 14 days or more have passed since they were diagnosed with COVID-19
The Undersecretary regretted the death of 10 people, 8 from the Metropolitan Region, 1 from Ñuble and 1 from Biobío.
Meanwhile, Health Care Networks Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga announced that 464 people are hospitalized in intensive care units and of these, 354 are being supported by mechanical ventilators, 71 of them in a critical condition.
Turning to diagnosis, he added that the laboratories had sent the results for 7,913 CRP tests during the last 24 hours and the positive test rate was 9%. A total of 214,131 diagnostic tests have been carried out so far in Chile.
Undersecretary Zúñiga announced that the country currently has 651 mechanical ventilators available to be transferred to anywhere required, in accordance with epidemiological needs.
“This is an advantage because it means that we can provide services to more people. However we can’t throw this advantage away. We are thus calling on people to act responsibly. We need these ventilators for situations caused by unavoidable contagion. When we see people traveling for long weekends and holding parties and gatherings, we have to ask why they aren’t avoiding this. By doing this, they are throwing away the advantage gained from having ventilators available,” the Undersecretary concluded.