SANTIAGO – President Piñera presented the Covid Bono today, a bonus for workers who are facing economic difficulties due to the coronavirus outbreak in the country. In his speech, the president warned all Chileans to be prepared for what lies ahead. “There are coming very difficult times.”
Standing in front of the presidential palace La Moneda, President Sebastián Piñera spoke about the coronavirus outbreak that has caused over 100 deaths in Chile. “It’s the worst pandemic, the worst threat and the greatest challenge the world and Chile have faced in the last 100 years”, he said. “We are going to have to get used to the fact that the normal life we had before the coronavirus is not going to come back for a while, we have to get used to a new normality”.
According to the president, Chile still hasn’t seen the worst of the coronacrisis. In terms of economic recession, Piñera warned that “there are coming very difficult times.” During his press moment, the president gave the start of the payment of the Covid Bono, a bonus available to 2.7 million Chileans who are suffering economically from the crisis.
To overcome the financial difficulties Chile is facing, Piñera said that the government will steadily start re-opening its economy and society again. “Gradually we will put our society, our lives and our businesses into motion, but with much stricter precautions and health measures than we had before”. On Monday, the Chilean government will start handing out immunity passports to people who can’t get infected or infect others. People with these so-called carnets COVID are allowed to go to work, even if their city is under quarantine.
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) April 17, 2020
Health Minister Mañalich: The Coronavirus Will Be With Us For Several Years
At the same press point Health Minister Jaime Mañalich expressed a similar message: the coronavirus is not a virus that will disappear in a few months. “We must not think that the light at the end of the tunnel is within reach; this will be long” he said. “We should expect from this coronavirus – in the absence of a vaccine – that we will have to live with it for at least several years.”
Just as his president, Mañalich emphasized that the virus will change the entire Chilean society, probably permanently. “It is highly probable that the Chile with coronavirus in the future will be different from what it was before the irruption of this pandemic, especially in terms of our customs, way of greeting, use of technology, way of educating and how we protect ourselves”.
Speaking about the current crisis, the Health Minister warned about the mental consequences of the outbreak and the measures taken by the government. “We are seeing that these quarantines are putting pressure on the mental health of people in general. It is a very serious problem that we will have to deal with, not only in the health sector, but also as a society in the coming months”.
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.