Despite the accelerated vaccination campaign, hospitals in the capital are on the verge of collapse; economy shaken by restrictive measures has led to an increase in the number of irregular camps
Santiago and its entire metropolitan region will be quarantined to contain the transmission of new coronavirus from Saturday, 27. The decision was announced by the Chile this Thursday, 25, as a consequence of the second wave of cases of Covid-19, which has been going on since December last year and worsened after February. The crisis threatens to cause hospitals in the capital to collapse: in the past few days, the country has broken records of daily cases, which have surpassed 7 thousand in the last 24 hours, and hospital capacity is in a critical situation, with 95% of the beds in nursing intensive care (ICU) occupied. With almost 19 million inhabitants and more than 5.5 million people vaccinated with at least one dose, Chile is the country with the third largest percentage of the population immunized against Covid-19 and the one that carries out the vaccination process more quickly , according to data from Oxford University. “The vaccine is a light of hope. However, we will only have the herd effect in June. Before that, we have to continue to be careful because we have a high viral circulation ”, explained the Minister of Health, Enrique Paris. “We are living in a worrying situation and we need one last effort”, he reiterated.
Currently, Chile has 74% of its population confined and an accumulated total of 954,762 contagions, in addition to 22,524 deaths by Covid-19. The country has been experiencing severe economic difficulties as a result of restrictive measures. In all, 81,643 Chilean families are currently living in irregular camps, 74% more than in 2019. The National Register of Camps 2020-2021, prepared by TECHO-Chile and Fundación Vivienda, is concentrated in socio-territorial units of eight or more families who are undocumented and in possession of land and do not have access to at least one of the basic services: sanitation, drinking water or electricity. Only the Metropolitan Region of Santiago, which will be quarantined in the next few days, has 28.8% of these settlements.
Chileans want to postpone elections
A poll released on Monday, 22, indicated that 62% of Chileans prefer to postpone the elections scheduled to take place between April 10 and 11 due to the second wave of the new coronavirus pandemic. In this election, the population elects mayors, governors and members of the assembly who will be in charge of drafting a new Constitution. The vote was initially planned for a single day, but ended up being split in two to avoid crowds and long lines in the middle of the pandemic. However, the option to postpone the elections has not received support or consensus between the government and the opposition so far. Meanwhile, government approval of pandemic management is 45%, which implies a 13 percentage point drop compared to February, when it peaked days after the mass vaccination campaign began.
New restrictions on travelers
The Chilean authorities have also decreed that all travelers coming from abroad must present a negative result for a negative RT-PCR, stay five days in a hotel, be subjected to another RT-PCR exam and spend another five days in home quarantine. According to local authorities, at least 100 cases of the British and Brazilian variants of Sars-Cov-2, the cause of Covid-19, have been confirmed in recent days.
* With information from EFE