“At the national level, new cases grew 36% in the last seven days. That figure is very concerning, especially because we observed an increase in practically every region of the country,” said Health Minister Enrique Paris during the briefing on the COVID-19 situation in Chile.
Minister Paris noted that “we have made some aspects of the Step-by-Step recovery plan tougher, precisely because we are very concerned about the evolution of this pandemic.”
Public Health Undersecretary, Paula Daza, announced that “ten months into the pandemic in Chile, we are updating the Step-by-Step recovery plan based on scientific evidence.” She added that the changes are being made so that “people have a better understanding and more certainty about the situation and the health risk facing their community.”
“One of the main changes to the Step-by-Step recovery plan is that quarantines will be stricter, but with more certainty regarding the duration,” reported Undersecretary Daza, who explained that quarantines would have a four-week maximum duration. Furthermore, Collective Single Permits will also be restricted to reduce mobility during Quarantine periods, and Individual Temporary Permits will be modified.
On this last point, Undersecretary Daza noted that permits would be limited to two per week. Two-hour discretionary permits no longer require users to specify the purpose. Undersecretary Daza also added that anyone who can work remotely during Quarantine should do so.
“We are prioritizing outdoor activity. Because we know that outdoor activity is important for people in Quarantine, we are designating 7:00 to 8:30 am “Elige Vivir Sano” (Choose to Live Healthily) hours for municipalities in Quarantine.”
Undersecretary Daza announced that, during the Transition step, social gatherings will be limited to five people, including household residents. Furthermore, and on an entirely voluntary basis, preschools and nurseries may begin operating during this step. On weekends, special hours for physical activity will be in effect from 7:00 to 8:30 am, and temporary permits will be limited to one per person.
For the Preparation and Initial Opening steps, the maximum number of people at social gatherings, including household residents, will be reduced to 15 and 30 people, respectively. Interregional travel will also be allowed for municipalities in these steps.
Modifications to the Step-by-Step recovery plan become effective on Thursday, January 14 at 5:00 am.
Crime Prevention Undersecretary, Katherine Martorell, announced that as of Thursday, January 14 at 5.00 am, the following municipalities have been downgraded to Quarantine: Mejillones and Antofagasta in the Antofagasta Region; San Vicente in the O’Higgins Region; Teno in the Maule Region; Talcahuano, Hualqui, Concepción, San Pedro de La Paz and Chiguayante in the Biobío Region; Renaico, Galvarino, Victoria and Temuco in the La Araucanía Region; Valdivia, Los Lagos and Río Bueno in the Los Ríos Region; Quellón, Calbuco, Dalcahue, Castro, Ancud, Puerto Montt, Puerto Varas and Osorno in the Los Lagos Region; and Aysén in the Aysén Region.
The following municipalities have been downgraded to Transition: Arica in the Arica Region; Pica and Pozo Almonte in the Tarapacá Region; Calama in the Antofagasta Region; Diego de Almagro, Copiapó and Tierra Amarilla in the Atacama Region; Zapallar in the Valparaíso Region; Santa Cruz, Chépica and Las Cabras in the O’Higgins Region; Sagrada Familia, Yerbas Buenas, Linares and Constitución in the Maule Region; Quillón and San Carlos in the Ñuble Region; Gorbea in the La Araucanía Region; Máfil, Futrono and Lago Ranco in the Los Ríos Region; Hualaihué in the Los Lagos Region; Recoleta, Buin and La Pintana in the Metropolitan Region.
The following municipalities have been downgraded to Preparation: Chañaral, Caldera, Alto del Carmen, Freirina, Huasco and Vallenar in the Atacama Region and the entire Coquimbo Region.
The municipality of Lautaro in the La Araucanía Region has been upgraded to Transition.
Minister Paris announced that “the number of municipalities in Quarantine has gone from 18 municipalities on January 11 to 42 municipalities on January 14, representing a 133% increase. Furthermore, the number of people living in areas under Quarantine has gone from 1,475,657 to 3,896,301 people, which is a 164% increase.” The minister reiterated that these changes mean a limitation on “the ability to obtain a vacation permit because vacationers may not visit places in Quarantine.”