Coronavirus in Chile NATIONAL

Officials calm as Chile registers coronavirus surge

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Health Ministry reported the highest daily coronavirus numbers since June last year. Government spokesperson Jaime Bellolio said border closures are not planned so far. President Sebastian Piñera assured the population that the country is ready to confront the surge.

The Health Ministry’s (Minsal) latest coronavirus report includes 8.904 new infections on Monday. The figures are among the highest since mid-2021. Active cases are 51.691, compared to 37.284 on June 21, 2021

Meanwhile, government spokesperson Jaime Bellolio recently said borders will remain open as he highlighted current travel regulations, which require a negative PCR test before visitors can enter the country. A second PCR test must be taken upon arrival with mandatory quarantines for those who test positive.

However, Bellolio also told local media, “we already have the border restricted and therefore we are going to maintain that. We wanted in the past to open some other land crossings; however, we are going to keep them closed for the time being.”

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Omicron: new changes to Chile’s border plan

The more transmissible Omicron variant is on the rise. First highlighted by South African researchers, it seems less deadly than other mutations, but is still considered dangerous. On Jan. 17, Minsal reported 32 Covid-19 related deaths, bringing the total number to 39.426.

President Sebastian Piñera said in a recent statement the government was prepared; it “strengthened the health system, tripling the number of [ICU] beds.” Yet, the Health Information and Statistics Department said ICU admissions have sharply fallen. Still, health officials in Arica, Tarapacá and Antofagasta have raised concerns over a lack of ICU beds.

Piñera added “we are well protected to face the Omicron variant. If we add vaccinations, plus the continued collaboration of the people with personal care, masks and social distancing, we can face this variant in a good way.”

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