The Delta variant was first identified in India. Chile’s Health Minister, Enrique Paris, said it has been detected in Chile, just as health measures are being relaxed. Authorities are worried and warn of possible consequences.
Health Minister Enrique Paris has confirmed the first case of the coronavirus Delta variant in Chile. It was introduced by a 43-year-old woman who arrived from the US and traveled to the district of San Javier in the Maule region. According to Paris, the woman has already been isolated as authorities are tracing her contacts.
However, San Javier mayor Jorge Silva and the area’s health authority, Carlos Estrada, were reported as saying that sanitary protocols were ignored. According to Silva, the woman was not tested at the airport or quarantined, and she came to Chile for a family member’s funeral. Authorities tested her only seven days after her arrival.
Silva said local authorities could trace 18 persons who had close contact with the woman and will keep monitoring the situation.
The Delta variant
First identified in India in October 2020, the WHO declared the mutation a “variant of concern” because it is more contagious and resistant, rendering some health measures ineffective.
An Oxford University study found the AstraZeneca and Pfizer vaccines helped against this varian, but results regarding China’s Sinovac vaccine are inconclusive. However, Paris recently said the health ministry was mulling to acquire and supply third doses of CoronaVac.
Delta variant symptoms differ as they involve headaches, sore throat and nasal secretions, resembling more those of a common cold. What’s more, a Delta Plus variant has emerged, also in India and of concern.
The situation in Chile
The number of new infections has been declining in Chile, although positivity levels remain high and numbers are greatly fluctuating.
In early June, full quarantine was imposed in the Metropolitan Region, but on June 24, measures were relaxed in 24 areas.
Daily La Tercera reported that the Health Ministry has changed the contact standards when the Delta variant is involved. Persons that got into contact with that variant will have to be isolated, even if they wore a mask. And the regional health authority (Seremi) will have to investigate the infected person’s surroundings.
José Miguel Bernucci, national secretary of the Medical College (Colmed) told CNN Chile that “this variant has become a global threat.” He urged the government to adhere to Colmed’s sanitary plan dubbed Vivos Nos Necesitamos that incentivizes health measures and vaccinations.
Javiera is from Santiago de Chile, she is studying journalism at Universidad de Chile, since 2017 and doing her internship at Chile Today.