Chile exceeds 1,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus; increases controls


By Natalia A. Ramos Miranda

SANTIAGO, Mar 25 (Reuters) – Chile has exceeded 1,000 confirmed cases and raised the number of deaths due to the coronavirus to three, health authorities reported on Wednesday, who also announced the decree of a total quarantine in part of the capital Santiago.

In one of the highest records in Latin America for confirmed cases, Chile recorded 220 new infections to total 1,142 infected people.

“To this day, in addition to the deceased that we had reported … we regret the third death,” said Deputy Minister of Healthcare Networks of the Ministry of Health, Arturo Zúñiga.

The third coronavirus victim in the country was an 82-year-old person who lived in the southern city of Concepción and suffered from cancer, the official said. The previous two deaths occurred in Santiago, where the largest number of cases is concentrated in Chile.

Since the beginning of this week, the government of President Sebastián Piñera announced new measures to protect isolated areas of the country, such as the remote Easter Island – located in the middle of the Pacific Ocean -, the Chiloé archipelago or the distant city of Puerto Williams, in the extreme south.

On Wednesday afternoon, the Minister of Health, Jaime Mañalich, announced the application of a total quarantine for seven days in seven municipalities of the capital, which will affect more than 1.3 million people, mainly in the wealthiest communes in the eastern zone. from the city.

Likewise, the official informed that a sanitary customs office will be installed around Santiago to contain the advance of the disease.

Until now, Chile had opted for other measures such as curfews, closure of shops and suspension of classes, among others.

The Minister of Education, Raúl Figueroa, announced earlier that the suspension of classes will be extended throughout April, as the southern winter holidays in July move forward.

Piñera said on Tuesday that the country has some 38,000 beds between the public and private health systems and that it hopes to add some 4,000 more to face the health crisis.

According to official records, only Brazil outnumbered Chile in the number of COVID-19 infections in Latin America, with more than 2,200 cases reported as of Tuesday.

(With additional report by Fabián Andrés Cambero. Edited by Javier Leira and Marion Giraldo)