Government authorities introduced road checks in the Santiago Metropolitan, Bio Bio, and, Araucania regions from Thursday, April 9, at 18:00 (local time) until Sunday, April 12, at 22:00 to prevent further spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). More specifically, the new measures will be implemented in the whole region of Santiago Metropolitan, Padre de las Casas and Temuco in Bio Bio, and in the urban areas of Gran Concepción in Bio Bio. Road checks will allow the transport of supplies, however, residents will need individual permits to justify crossing road checks, such as the need for medical treatment or to attend funerals. Authorities have warned that those who fail to comply with directives may face fines.
President Sebastian Piñera declared a state of catastrophe on Wednesday, March 18, in response to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. The status entered into effect on Thursday, March 19, and will remain in place for 90 days. This will enable authorities to implement more restrictive measures progressively as the COVID-19 situation evolves. The government also announced a nationwide curfew on Sunday, March 22, between the hours of 22:00 and 05:00. Chile's Minister of Health Jaime Mañalich announced that certain neighborhoods (comunas) in Santiago will have their COVID-19 quarantine measures lifted as of Monday, April 13. The government initially announced quarantine measures on Monday, March 25, for the neighborhoods of Santiago Centro, Providencia, Ñuñoa, Las Condes, Vitacura, and Lo Barnechea. People in these areas are only allowed to leave their residences under certain circumstances, such as shopping for essential goods and for medical reasons. As of April 13, these measures will be lifted in Lo Barnecha, Vitacura, and Providencia, as well as southern parts of Ñuñoa and Santiago Centro. Northern areas of Ñuñoa and Santiago Centro will continue to be under quarantine measure until Thursday, April 16, as will the whole of Los Condes. In addition, the western part of the Puente Alto neighborhood will be placed under quarantine from 22:00 (local time) on Thursday, April 9, until Thursday, April 16.As of April 10, a ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people remains in place. On Monday, March 16, President Piñera announced the closure of Chilean land, sea, and air borders. The closure came into effect on Wednesday, March 18, but does not apply to cargo and associated personnel. The Ministry of Education announced on Wednesday, March 25, that school closures will be extended through the month of April. Though a precise date was not announced, schools are now expected to reopen in May.
Authorities have also introduced a reduced timetable for public transport in the Santiago Metropolitan Region due to the stay-at-home measures, with limited metro and suburban train services running from 06:30 and 06:00 respectively and bus services from 05:30 on Wednesday, April 8. Updates on services can be found here.
To date, Chile has recorded 5116 confirmed cases of COVID-19, with 43 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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