"This is a population that has a poor nutritional status, and also has diseases that have not been treated, so they are more likely to contract the virus."
Chile's government requested the homeless population to “stay at home” and to maintain hygiene to prevent Covid-19. The administrative request generates mockeries and polemic reactions.
Chile’s Social Development and Family Minister, Sebastian Sichel, affirmed that his administration is asking the ones who live on the streets to go back to their houses. That statement shows the unfamiliarity of the functionary with the poorest Chileans’ livelihood.
Health and sanitary experts qualify mandatary Sebastian Piñera's administration as negligent and claim it rules with poor resources and social management.
Chilean homeless do not have the supplies or housing conditions to isolate themselves and prevent Covid-19 infection. According to national statistics, more than 14 000 people live in Chile’s streets with no access to basic services as electricity, water or food.
"No solo los adultos mayores o los enfermos crónicos pueden ser población de riesgo ante el #COVID19, también hay otros grupos humanos con alta vulnerabilidad: las personas en situación de calle". Vía @uchileradio #QuelacalleNOcalle pic.twitter.com/ShYaQQWPUg— #QuelacalleNOcalle (@gentedecalle) March 25, 2020
"This is a population that has a poor nutritional status, and also has diseases that have not been treated, so they are more likely to contract the virus," explains Francisco Roman, executive director of the “People in the Street” Foundation.
The precarious homeless’ living situation increases risk contagion for the rest of the Chilean population. Figures reveal an increase in the wandering population in the last 3 years. Among them are psychiatric patients, seniors but also families with little kids. Some state strategies to palliate this situation are foster care facilities, open dinners, and basic health services, but experts say is not enough to cover all the ones in need.
So far, Chile registers 1 306 Covid-19 positive cases, and 4 deceased due to the virus.