The Chilean Ministry of Health announced that it is lifting the majority of its remaining COVID-19 restrictions. Beginning Oct. 1, indoor masking will no longer be required and mobility passes will be history. Going forward, there will also be an annual coronavirus vaccine available but not required.
On Sept. 21, due to low COVID-19 numbers in Chile in recent weeks, the country’s Health Minister, Ximena Aguilera, announced an end to most of the lingering pandemic-related restrictions. Among other things:
- Masks will only be required in medical buildings, not other indoor spaces; and, while it is still recommended that masks be used on public transportation, they will no longer be required there either.
- The mobility pass (documenting COVID-19 shots), which has been mandatory for entering certain places and events, will be eliminated.
- Capacity restrictions will be lifted.
All this is set for Oct. 1.
In a press conference, Aguilera explained the decision, stating that, “[a]t this moment, the epidemiologic situation is quite positive. We have observed a decrease in positivity and a huge vaccination coverage.” She added that the virus will not go away but that people should learn to live with it at this point.
Regarding COVID-19 shots, as the Ministry’s website notes, they will be added to the national immunization program’s annual vaccine campaign, with a focus on risk groups.
As for hospital operations, the Ministry will maintain the current system of regular and “risk” beds to guarantee ongoing attention to coronavirus patients.
Quarantine recommendations have also loosened up, from a seven-day period to a five-day period for those who test positive for the virus.
Catalina Vergara is graduated in Social Communications from the Pontificia Universidad Católica de Chile. She has previously worked on Strategic Communications.