Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, along with Healthcare Network Undersecretary Arturo Zúñiga, went to Santiago airport to receive a new shipment of mechanical ventilators to address the COVID-19 pandemic. They are additional to the 549 ventilators that are already available today in the healthcare network.
“This flight has just arrived, directly from the Netherlands, with a very significant number of mechanical ventilators for our country. These are high-tech respirators that are part of President Sebastián Piñera’s plan to ensure that every person infected with the coronavirus will get the treatment they need,” the Minister said.
He added that on Monday, May 11, there should be 636 ventilators available throughout the country, including the equipment that just arrived. This number will gradually increase until a total number of 1,751 ventilators are available by the end of May.
“This is good news. We have fulfilled our commitment, because each of these boxes brings hope for life for our fellow Chileans, who will be attended without any differentiation or discrimination, providing them with every chance of recovery from this serious disease,” said the Minister.
He reiterated that because of this and all the other efforts made by the Government, Chile ranks behind Iceland as the countries in the OECD with the lowest death rate from COVID-19.
He called on everyone to remain prudent and calm, and to keep up to date with what is happening in Chile.
“It is true that we are experiencing a sort of viral terrorism panic and the days to come will be very difficult,” he said, adding, “we have the supplies and the number of beds needed to fight the advance of the pandemic.”
The Health Minister emphasized that regardless of what is happening abroad, this should not lead us “to the brink of a collapse or a catastrophe, because that is not correct. We have the supplies and the ventilators that were planned from the beginning,” he stated.
The new shipment of ventilators is in addition to the 72 that arrived on April 25 and to the 117 that came on May 1. These are among the measures taken by the Health Ministry to boost the national healthcare network with infrastructure, equipment and medical supplies to address the global COVID-19 pandemic.
“We are fighting the Battle for Santiago and this battle requires instruments, hospitals, intensive care units, personnel and machines such as the ones we have received today. It is highly likely that at one point we will have an additional unexpected demand for consultations or hospitalizations in a specific area or city. For this reason, we have implemented the centralized management of the network which allows patients to be referred to wherever there is capacity to treat them, including outside the Metropolitan Region if necessary. Likewise, the available ventilators can be transported to wherever they are needed to support patients who require them,” explained the Health Minister.