Chile, the most advanced country in vaccination against the coronavirus in Latin America, announced this Thursday that it will close its borders for almost a month due to the number of new infections it is registering.
The South American country exceeded one million confirmed cases, with 7,830 in the last 24 hours, the highest number since the pandemic began.
Health authorities have confirmed at least 23,328 deaths from the disease, but it is suspected that there could be 8,000 more.
Faced with this scenario, the government opted for close the borders from next April 5 until May 1, both for Chilean citizens and foreigners.
“We are experiencing very complex moments of the pandemic not only in Chile but throughout the world,” declared presidential spokesman Jaime Bellolio.
“We have had to take stricter measures with the sole objective of taking care of people,” he added.
The closure of borders joins other measures, such as the confinement that governs 83% of the population and a curfew from 9:00 p.m.
“We have been asking for it for months, it is a measure a little late, but we appreciate it, our surveillance of patients who come from abroad is very weak,” said the general secretary of the Medical College, José Miguel Bernucci.
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The second wave
Chile had already implemented a border closure last year, from March to November.
After the confinement measures were reduced in December, in the middle of the holiday period, the country began to register a sustained increase in COVID-19 infections, which was listed as a second wave.
Last month it reached its tipping point for confirmed cases, with hospitals overwhelmed.
“We express our concern for four regions that continue to increase their cases in a very important way: Valparaíso, the Metropolitan Region (to which Santiago belongs), O’Higgins and Maule,” said Health Minister Enrique Paris.
A joint report by the University of Chile, the Catholic University and the University of Concepción indicates that the burden of disease in the past week is 28% higher than at the worst time of the pandemic in 2020, reported the EFE agency.
At the same time, the country has applied a successful vaccination scheme with which 6.7 million persons -of a total of 19 million- have received at least one dose against covid-19.
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With almost a third of the population receiving the vaccine, it ranks as the most advanced country in Latin America in immunization.
“The increase in cases has to do mainly with the relaxation of self-care standards during the summer [austral], which has also happened in other countries of the world, “the Ministry of Health told BBC Mundo last month.
The government has proposed vaccinate 80% of the population by the end of June.
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