SANTIAGO – With new coronavirus cases passing the 1,000 during the last two days, the Ministry of Health announced new quarantines. As over 80 percent of the cases concentrate in Santiago, more districts in the capital will be put under complete – instead of partial – quarantine. Health Minister Jaime Mañalich resorted to martial language, saying the coming weeks would be about the “Battle of Santiago.”
Using pathos-laden language, Chile’s Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich warned on Sunday that if Santiaguinos do not follow the restrictions imposed by authorities, “the war against Covid-19 will be lost.”
At a press point, where the minister announced another increase of over 1,000 confirmed cases within 24 hours, Mañalich referred to “The Battle of Santiago,” as over 80 percent of all cases in Chile are registered in this densely populated region.
He said controls by authorities will increase in the next days. “The mayor of Santiago, Felipe Alessandri, told me that going around the center of the city is like being in a place without preventive measures […] Across the Mapocho River, the Vega (local market) is full with people who are not using any protection, who are not distancing,” the minister said.
“We are going to be intensely focused on winning the battle of Santiago, because if not, this war is going to be lost. The only way to beat this virus is by isolating the people who can infect others, and we have to behave better, unfortunately, given the number of asymptomatic people, as we all have the possibility of infecting others.”
At the press point, Mañalich also announced that four districts in the capital will go on lockdown starting Tuesday 10 PM: Cerrillos, Quilicura, Recoleta and the part of Santiago downtown that was not under quarantine. El Bosque, Ñuñoa (from Grecia Avenue to the north), part of San Bernardo, part of Puente Alto, Quinta Normal, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, part of La Pintana, San Ramón and Estación Central were already quarantined.
Antofagasta and Mejillones in the north of the country will also face quarantine measures, with the city of Arica already on lockdown. In the southern regions, Angol, Victoria and Punta Arenas are already under quarantine.
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.