Foreign Affairs Minister Teodoro Ribera participated in the meeting of Foreign Affairs Ministers from Latin America, the Caribbean and Germany, along with ECLAC Executive Secretary Alicia Bárcena. The video conference was called by the German Minister, Heiko Maas, in order to discuss joint measures for containing the pandemic in the region.
At the meeting, Minister Ribera stressed that Chile began preparing for this pandemic in January by purchasing ventilators as well as medical supplies and equipment. He also emphasized the country’s low mortality rate and high PCR testing rate (2.8% of the population). However, the minister added: “Even so, our rate of contagion is significant and we need to achieve greater individual commitment.”
The Minister also mentioned the complex scenario that has resulted from the fact that it has not been possible to fly between the countries in the region. “We regret that countries in the region have closed their borders, preventing their citizens from returning or foreigners from leaving. This has created a very significant burden on individual human rights. We urge that each person be allowed to return safely and soon to the place they regard as their home,” he said.
He stressed efforts to repatriate thousands of Chileans stranded around the world, adding: “I want to thank all the countries that have collaborated with humanitarian transport, as well as the private companies and civil organizations that have accompanied us in this task.”
At the end of his remarks, the minister emphasized the importance of mulilateralism in this situation. “Chile is a medium-sized country that has built its growth around globalization. We produce for the world and, therefore advocate effective, robust multilateralism. We need to draw lessons from what is happening now and strengthen the international architecture that has been unable to respond quickly and effectively to this crisis,” he said.
Similarly, he noted that Chile is proposing to the international community a global instrument for international commitment in the areas of health and pandemics. “And we hope that, within the World Health Organization, we can first conduct a major review of what happened and, ultimately, take measures so that we can better address any pandemics that may occur in the future.”