Coronavirus in Chile NATIONAL

Surge in Covid-19 Cases Leads to Tighter Restrictions

SANTIAGO – In response to spiking infection numbers, the government has tightened its Covid-19 response. Changes include stricter and longer quarantines and restrictions on commerce. Most controversial was the initial ban on live music in restaurants.

New measures in response to rising Covid-19 cases will begin taking effect on Thursday as various areas will also recede into full quarantines.

Cases have been rising since December, approaching the numbers from the height of the pandemic last year. Authorities are now worried about an impending second wave.

Health Minister Enrique Paris said during a meeting with the senate’s health commission that people didn’t learn from the first wave because now they are engaging in very risky behavior and I think that we will have to reinforce the campaign, but sometimes people don’t understand.”

New Restrictions

The government will tweak its so-called paso-a-paso, or step-by-step, plan and restrictions are determined by the step imposed on a certain area.

Step 1: Quarantine

  • lasts 2-4 weeks before receiving a review
  • only essential activities are allowed which still require a permit
  • work from home is encouraged where possible
  • only essential commerce may function
  • two permits per person per week are allowed, each valid for two hours
  • outdoor exercises may take place from 7:00- 8:30

Step 2: Transition

  • work and commerce are allowed, while social isolation is recommended
  • full quarantine on weekends and public holidays
  • one permit per person during the weekend, valid for at least two hours
  • gatherings of a maximum of five persons are allowed during the week
  • outdoor exercises may take place from 7:00- 8:30
  • kindergartens and nurseries are open

Step 3: Preparation

  • social activities in open spaces are allowed
  • interregional travel is allowed
  • a maximum of 15 persons may gather

Step 4: Initial opening.

  • a maximum of 30 persons may gather

Under the latest measures, no district will move to step 5, which is complete opening, until a large part of the population has been vaccinated.

The measures initially included a ban on live music in restaurants because it would force individuals to speak louder, causing more droplets to proliferate. But after a backlash, the government downgraded the ban to a recommendation.

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