SANTIAGO – Chilean authorities announced even stricter measures as the coronavirus outbreak accelerates. Permits to circulate in the capital will be limited and more cities will be quarantined. A “hibernation” of Santiago, as rumored the last couple of days, was rejected.
Chile is now among the countries worst hit by the Covid-19 pandemic, and local authorities have been arguing the last few days that measures in the Metropolitan Region – by far the heaviest hit part of Chile – must be increased. A “hibernation,” as suggested in a report by Espacio Publico, however, was ruled out by Health Minister Enrique Paris at his presser on Wednesday, June 17.
“It is not possible to implement this measure [a ‘hibernation’], as we would be left without basic services, without food, without attention to the elderly people, without distribution of medicines and with a paralyzed city, which can even aggravate the health situation,” he said.
🗣️ The message, stating that this Sunday the capital would enter a complete lockdown for at least two weeks, caused unrest among many Chileans. pic.twitter.com/B5DKwC5nq1
— Chile Today News (@ChileTodayNews) June 17, 2020
Paris did, however, announce a tightening of measures in the capital. Currently, residents of quarantined districts are allowed five permits per week to leave the house for certain approved activities, e.g., to buy groceries. Under the new restrictions, residents will only be allowed two permits per person per week.
The authorities also announced that the quarantine measures in all municipalities in the Metropolitan Region would be extended at least another week.
The municipalities of Los Andes, San Felipe, Rancagua, Machalí and Curicó will also enter quarantine this Friday at 10 p.m. The cities of Valparaíso and Viña del Mar were added to the quarantine list last week.
As of now, 55 municipalities in Chile are under quarantine. Together, they have more than 9.7 million residents, or just over 50% of the country’s total population.
Editor-In-Chief Boris van der Spek is the founder of Chile Today. He worked in Colombia, Surinam and the Netherlands as reporter and works with international media during major events, like the social crisis, the elections and the Pope’s visit.