During his daily report on the pandemic, Health Minister Enrique Paris stated, “we are making progress, but it’s tough and there’s no roadmap. Humanity as a whole and our country individually are having to draw one up step by step. This is a new, unknown virus, and we have had to learn from it and learn to manage it, which has not been easy.”
Minister Paris explained that the number of new cases is continuing to decrease and that there has been a 12% drop over the last 14 days. The positive PCR testing rate is 8% nationally and 7% in the Metropolitan Region.
Minister Paris also announced that children in areas subject to quarantine are to be allowed to leave their homes. “As pediatricians, Dr. Daza and I are very happy to announce that children will be able to obtain permits to go outside.” Public Health Undersecretary Paula Daza added, “we have been working with the Undersecretary for Childhood, the Society for Pediatrics, the Society for Infectious Disease and the Children’s Ombudsperson, as well as other key civil society stakeholders, to develop a protocol to allow children to go outside as of Monday.”
A father, mother or guardian must request a permit for children under the age of 14 from the virtual police station. The authorization will allow minors in municipalities that have been subject to quarantine for over 14 days to go outside on Tuesdays, Wednesdays and Fridays. “Those are the days that senior citizens do not go out, which will limit the spread of the virus. Children will be able to go outside for up to 90 minutes between 10 a.m. and 12 noon or 4 p.m. and 6 p.m.,” Undersecretary Daza explained.
The Undersecretary also noted that “the permits are meant to allow children to go outside. They are not to be used to go to the supermarket, visit a relative or run errands with adults. They are to be used to let kids get fresh air. Most importantly, all self-care measures must be followed, including using a mask, avoiding direct contact with others, and practicing social distancing.”
Children over the age of 14 may go out without an adult. They can request their own permit through the virtual police station and will thus be responsible for being able to go out on their own under those same conditions. In other words, they may not go shopping, run errands or use public transport.
Next, Undersecretary for Childhood Carol Bown said, “We are pleased to make this announcement, and would like to thank UNICEF because we have followed the recommendations of the Committee on the Rights of the Child and international experience as well as those of the Medical College, Chilean Society for Infectious Disease, Chilean Society for Pediatrics and the teams of the Undersecretaries for Health and Childhood. The most important message is we need to be responsible, and children and teens must take precautions.”
“We are very pleased to announce that the municipalities of Estación Central and Santiago will move into the transition stage at 5 a.m. on Monday, August 17. We have invited the Mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri, and the Mayor of Estación Central, Rodrigo Delgado, to be with us today,” announced Health Minister Enrique Paris.
Santiago Mayor Felipe Alessandri said, “this is important news for Santiago. On Sunday we will have been subject to quarantine for 143 days and it has been very difficult for most people, who have strictly complied with the health protocols. That’s why we first want to thank the public, while at the same time call for caution. We aren’t talking about a full reopening here. We are moving to a transition stage, and it has certain limitations. For example, stores can open, but they have to be staffed by people who live in municipalities that are in the transition phase. That will be very closely monitored.” Mayor Alessandri added that “this is a first ray of hope. We are opening up on Monday, but we are doing so very carefully so that we don’t have to take a step back.”
For his part, Estación Central Mayor Rodrigo Delgado said, “the transition phase is not about fully reopening. This is a reward for the efforts made in these districts between community organizations, soup kitchens, people helping one another, volunteers, municipal officials, private entities, healthcare teams and others.” Mayor Delgado added, “there are more people who behave responsibly than those who don’t, but sometimes the people we notice the most are those who are stubborn. We need to understand that we are achieving these improvements in the numbers through hard work, and I believe that hard work should be rewarded.”
Minister Paris also announced that the municipality of San Vicente de Tagua-Tagua will become subject to quarantine on at 10 p.m. on Friday. “I have spoken with the mayor of San Vicente de Tagua-Tagua by phone, and he thanked me for the information,” he said.