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  • President Sebastian Piñera, Santiago, Chile, June, 2020

    President Sebastian Piñera, Santiago, Chile, June, 2020 | Photo: EFE

Published 16 June 2020
Opinion

Despite the restrictions, 72 percent of Santiago residents have gone out into the street.

Chile’s Health Ministry Enrique Paris Tuesday said that if citizens do not respect quarantine, the government of Sebastian Piñera will toughen measures to contain their movements.

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"If people don't understand through reason, obviously we are going to have to apply more force," Paris said in an interview with local radio station Duna.

So far, Chile has officially reported 184,449 COVID-19 cases and 3,383 deaths. Over 150,000 cases of those infections have been detected in Santiago’s metropolitan area, where at least 3,000 people have died.

To appease the contagion curve, the country's capital and its suburbs are in total quarantine. This preventive measure, however, was only recently taken in May.

Besides being late in comparison with other countries, such a decision is not working because of the actions of both citizens and authorities.

The University of Chile will not use the Health Ministry's COVID-19 data because they are unreliable. "They make all modeling impossible."

A recent survey shows that 72 percent of Santiago residents have gone out into the street during quarantine, although 80 percent of them say they requested prior permission to do so.

The authorities' announcement has alerted human rights defenders who fear that the tightening of epidemiological measures could lead to actions of police brutality.

"Black Hawk combat helicopters, C-130 Hercules tactical transport aircraft, amphibious ships for landing troops, and dozens of field hospitals are part of the contingent the Chilean Armed Forces have deployed to counter-attack in the war against COVID -19," agency EFE reported.

On Monday, the Piñera administration extended the state of emergency for 90 days. Previously, after an international scandal over the pandemic figures that Chile was acknowledging, Piñera removed Jaime Mañalich from the Health Ministry.

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