October 23, 2020

COVID-19: Chile is one of the top thirty countries in the world for the number of PCR tests carried out

COVID-19: Chile is one of the top thirty countries in the world for the number of PCR tests carried out
The country ranks first in Latin America with more than 4 million tests, meaning that 20% of the country's population has been tested. This achievement puts Chile close behind countries like New Zealand, Sweden and Holland. One of the measures announced was that the country's cemeteries will remain closed due to the pandemic on October 31 and November 1, when people traditionally visit the graves of deceased family members.

Health Minister Enrique Paris, accompanied by the Undersecretaries of Public Health, Paula Daza, and Healthcare Networks, Arturo Zúñiga, delivered a fresh update on the coronavirus pandemic situation in Chile.

Minister Paris emphasized that more than 4 million PCR tests have been applied in the country since the start of the pandemic. “Chile stands out as one of the top 30 countries in the world for the number of polymerase chain reaction (PCR) tests applied, and the first in Latin America. More than 4 million tests have been conducted, a rate of 207,000 tests per million inhabitants, meaning that we have tested 20% of the population. This record puts us among the top-ranking countries in the world,” the Health Minister noted. 

He added that according to Worldometer, Chile is only a few tests behind New Zealand and is close to overtaking countries like Switzerland, Sweden and Holland. “I want to recognize the work of all the laboratory technicians, biochemists, medical technicians and all those who work in the laboratories of the public and private health systems, universities, as well as companies like the salmon farms that have cooperated in this effort,” said Enrique Paris.


From 5:00 a.m. on Monday, October 26, the following municipalities will move to a higher step in the Step by Step Plan:

From Preparation to Initial Opening, in the Metropolitan Region, the municipalities of Alhué, Lampa, Calera de Tango, Peñalolén and Vitacura.

From Transition to Preparation in the Metropolitan Region, the municipalities of Peñaflor, Cerro Navia, Macul, La Florida and Pudahuel; in the Maule Region, Licantén, San Clemente and Teno; and in the Valparaíso Region, La Cruz and La Calera.

From Quarantine to Transition in the Atacama Region, Vallenar; in the Ñuble Region, Coihueco; and in the Araucanía Region, Teodoro Schmidt, Loncoche and Ercilla.

From 5:00 a.m. this Saturday, October 24, the following municipalities will move to a lower step:

To Transition, in the Metropolitan Region, the municipalities of Isla de Maipo and Padre Hurtado; in the Los Lagos Region, Calbuco.

Another measure announced was that the cemeteries will remain closed on October 31 and November 1 due to the pandemic, “to avoid crowds of people and an increase in the number of cases in the country,” said Public Health Undersecretary, Paula Daza. People traditionally visit the graves of deceased family members on these dates.

Path to a Safe Referendum

Undersecretary Daza also explained the steps that people must follow before, during and after going to vote on the day of the National Referendum (Sunday, October 25), to prevent contagion.

  • Before leaving the house, ensure that you have your ID card, a blue pen, a bottle of water and a spare mask in case the one you are using becomes damp.
  • Use alcohol gel before and after voting to prevent contagion.
  • Between your home and the voting station you must use a mask and avoid contact with other people.
  • In the line, keep a physical distance of at least one meter from the next person.
  • On returning home, take off your shoes, throw away your mask and wash your hands and face.

The undersecretary stressed that “people who are COVID positive and their close contacts must be isolated. Random checks will be carried out in every voting station and anyone who tests positive will be isolated.” She added that “people who fail to comply with the health regulations may be subject to a fine of between 2 million and 10 million Chilean pesos (between US$2,500 and US$12,500).

Loss of valuable lives

Speaking in La Moneda Palace, the health authorities condemned the violence that occurred last Sunday, October 18, which cost the life of Francisca Paz, a nursing technician aged 27 years, mother and wife, who was employed at the San Juan de Dios Hospital.

Minister Enrique Paris reported that she was hit by a stray bullet that pierced her pelvic region, causing severe injury and her subsequent death. “This occurred on Sunday, October 18, and we utterly condemn the indiscriminate use of firearms. We appeal for peace, concord and a spirit of cooperation and dialogue between all who live in Chile. We express our deep sympathy for her husband and her little daughter, her relatives and all health workers who save lives by their hard work and dedication, sometimes of these same people who make uncontrolled use of weapons. They work tremendously hard, they make huge sacrifices, and today they have lost one of their colleagues. We will not tolerate violence, we are on the side of peace and of continuing to work to save lives and not to kill. Those who do not condemn violence are partly responsible for the continued loss of valuable lives that the country needs,” said Minister Paris.

The Undersecretary of Healthcare Networks also expressed his condolences to the family of Francisca Paz and the whole community of the San Juan de Dios Hospital.