Health Minister Enrique Paris has announced new measures as part of the actions being taken by the Government to control the spread of COVID-19 in Chile. He emphasized, “the President of Chile is constantly listening to the requests being made and the possible measures we should implement.”
The Minister therefore announced that as of 10 pm on Friday, the following municipalities will be subject to quarantine: San Felipe and Los Andes in the Valparaíso Region, Rancagua and Machalí in the O’Higgins Region and the urban part of Curicó in the Maule Region. All the areas and municipalities that are already in quarantine will remain so for at least another week. This decision is being continuously evaluated by the authorities and is intended to prevent the spread of the SARS-CoV-2 virus.
Asked about the possibility of establishing “hibernation”, the Minister explained, “it’s not possible for us to implement that measure as we would be left without essential services, food, attention for senior citizens and the delivery of medications. With a paralyzed city, the health condition of the community could even worsen. However, we are going to take much stricter measures to ensure that people comply with the sanitary and social measures that will prevent the spread of the virus.”
Crime Prevention Undersecretary Katherine Martorell said that the measures that have been implemented for the quarantine, especially in the Metropolitan Region, have been insufficient to decrease people’s movements. For this reason they have not succeeded in containing the infection and this means even more drastic measures need to be taken in favor of people’s care, health and wellbeing.
These measures are as follows:
Individual permits: these are reduced from 5 to 2 per person per week during daytime hours.
Individual safe conducts: These are for use during curfew hours and only for two occasions: 1) funeral arrangements 2) when medical treatment is needed that continues beyond the curfew deadline of 10 pm.
Unique collective work permits (Permiso único de Colectivo, PUC): now public officials and the people working for food and commercial services will also need these permits.
“The only people who will not need to have the unique collective work permits are transport workers, public and private health officials and fire, police and armed force personnel. Public officials must also have this permit, so that those people who are out in the street can be there with the permit that they receive by email, which includes their name and details of their work and timetable. This also prevents people from doing other things, like going to a pharmacy or the supermarket with their ID card and credential,” explained Undersecretary Martorell.
With regard to the unique collective work permits, the Undersecretary announced that essential companies will be asked to make a greater effort to decrease the number of people they have working.
“Today our commitment is to get through the great challenge of this pandemic and, as Minister Paris has said, we cannot discuss hibernation, closing the city because that would affect the quality of life of the people who are in quarantine. It would prevent people getting supplies and accessing essential services. However, in the Metropolitan Region, we are going to reduce the number of permits as much as we can because if we don't reduce people’s movements, we will not achieve the objective of getting through this pandemic.” She added that checks are to be increased throughout Chile.