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  • Image of everyday life in a neighborhood, Santiago, Chile, May 7, 2020.

    Image of everyday life in a neighborhood, Santiago, Chile, May 7, 2020. | Photo: EFE

Published 7 May 2020
Opinion

This South American country is experiencing an increase in new cases since last week.

Chile’s Health Minister Jaime Mañalich Wednesday announced that a dozen neighborhoods in Santiago will return to confinement from Friday onwards due to the worrying advance of the pandemic in a city that concentrates 85 percent of the new infections. 

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"We have to look at the metropolitan region very carefully. The disease is moving towards neighborhoods that are more vulnerable due to their population density, economic situation, and type of housing," Mañalich said.

"The situation in the country is heterogeneous. Now we have to fight in Santiago and move forward together and with enormous effort," he added.

Unlike countries such as Argentina or Colombia, which ordered quarantine since the first COVID-19 cases began to become evident, Chile did not want to decree national confinement and opted for "selective and strategic quarantines." 

This health policy implies that restrictions are imposed and enforced. they rise in each neighborhood or city according to the number of new infections.

Map showing Santiago's neighborhoods that will remain in quarantine from Friday.

However, President Sebastian Piñera decreed a state of emergency with a curfew starting at 10 pm and ordered schools, universities, and non-necessity businesses to close their doors.

Although his officials have proclaimed that the peak of the contagion has been exceeded, Chile is experiencing a significant increase in new cases since the middle of last week.

In the last 24 hours, for example, 1,032 new COVID cases and 6 deaths were reported, which increases the total number of infected to 23,048 people and death toll to 281.​​​​​​​

Among the poor neighborhoods that will be quarantined are La Florida, Cerro Navia, and Renca.

Meanwhile, people will be able to move without restrictions in the upper-class neighborhoods located east of Santiago city, where the first COVID-19 cases were detected in early March.

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