On Sunday, June 21, Health Minister Enrique Paris announced that three communes of Antofagasta region would be placed under lockdown on Tuesday, June 23, due to a rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. Lockdown measures will be reinstated in the communes of Antofagasta and Mejillones after being lifted on May 27 and introduced for the first time on Tocopilla from 22:00 (local time) on Tuesday. It has not been revealed how long the measures will be in place for. Under the restrictions people only be able to leave their homes for essential purposes and businesses will either close or perform scaled back operations. Public transport will also be limited. Antofagasta is one of Chile's worst hit regions, with 246 cases being reported in the past 24 hours on Sunday.
On Wednesday, June 17, the Chilean government tightened the current restrictions in place to limit the spread of the COVID-19. In Santiago, a total lockdown was announced, with residents only permitted to leave their homes twice a week. In addition, the communes of San Felipe and Los Andes in Valparaíso, Rancagua and Machali in O'Higgins, and Curico in Maule, have been quarantined. Iquique, Alto Hospicio, Pozo Almonte, Calama, Valparaíso, Viña del Mar, and San Antonio will have their total quarantine extended.
The country's borders remain closed to foreign travelers until further notice. The restrictions do not apply to Chilean nationals, and citizens and permanent residents are also still permitted to enter the country. The closure also does not apply to cargo and associated personnel.
As of June 21, there have been 236,748 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chile and 4295 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.
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 COVID-19 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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