On Friday, May 8, Chilean authorities implemented quarantine measures in 12 additional municipalities in Santiago, following a continued rise in coronavirus disease (COVID-19) cases. The new measures went into effect from 22:00 on Thursday, May 7 (local time). The municipalities affected by the new measures are Cerro Navia, Conchalí, La Granja, San Miguel, Lo Espejo, Macul, Lo Prado, Peñalolén, La Florida, Renca, San Joaquín and La Cisterna. The measures prohibit residents from leaving their homes with the exception of seeking medical assistance, accessing public services, and paying bills for public services, for which a permit will be required. Further details of the measures in place can be found here.
Furthermore, the Chilean government announced that quarantine measures in the city of Punta Arenas and the Santiago municipality of Ñuñoa would be lifted from 22:00 on May 7 (local time). Quarantine measures remain in place in several other communes in the Santiago Metropolitan region including Independencia, Quinta Normal, Estación Central, Pedro Aguirre Cerda, El Bosque, San Bernardo, La Pintana, San Ramón, and Puente Alto.
The country's borders remain closed to foreign travelers until further notice. The restrictions do not apply to Chilean nationals and permanent residents who are permitted to enter the country. The closure initially came into effect on Wednesday, March 18, and does not apply to cargo and associated personnel. The government announced a nationwide curfew on Sunday, March 22, between the hours of 22:00 and 05:00, which remains in place as of Friday, May 8. Road checks operated by security services may be active in some areas of Santiago. Additionally, a ban on public gatherings of more than 500 people remains in place.
The Ministry of Education announced on Wednesday, March 25, that school closures will be extended through the month of April, and while a precise date was not announced, schools are now expected to reopen in May.
As of May 8, there have been 24,581 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Chile and 285 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 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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