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Montevideo, February 8th 2023 - 11:04 UTC



Chile orders total quarantine for Santiago's population following a virus peak of infections

Thursday, May 14th 2020 - 08:59 UTC
Full article 44 comments
“The most severe measure I must announce is a total quarantine in Greater Santiago,” Health Minister Jaime Manalich said. “The most severe measure I must announce is a total quarantine in Greater Santiago,” Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

Chile ordered a mandatory total quarantine for the capital Santiago's seven million people on Wednesday, after authorities reported a 60% spike in coronavirus infections in 24 hours, dealing a stunning blow to hopes the economy would soon reopen.

“The most severe measure I must announce is a total quarantine in Greater Santiago,” the location of 80 per cent of the country's 34,000-plus confirmed cases, Health Minister Jaime Manalich said.

Manalich said the lockdown - including in several areas where earlier confinement measures had been lifted - was necessary after 2,260 new infections and 12 deaths in the last 24 hours.

The lockdown - which come into force on Friday at 10:00 pm (0200 GMT Saturday) - means that people will be allowed to leave their homes only for essential reasons like buying food or medicine.

Chile had until now opted for a selective quarantine strategy in dealing with the pandemic. Curfews were imposed in Santiago and other cities, but quarantines were limited to areas with high incidences of infection.

Chile also has Latin America's highest rate of coronavirus testing - 14,000 a day and around 200,000 overall.

However, the government had been increasingly concerned about rising infection numbers across the city of seven million people in the past 10 days, and last week ordered strict new confinement measures in three densely populated areas.

Health workers reported growing rates of infection in early May, just after the conservative government celebrated the fact that infections had “peaked,” citing a persistent daily rate of around 500 new cases.

Within a few days, however, officials began to speak of “The Battle of Santiago.

“The month of May is being hard on our country and we have to take appropriate actions at the right time to stop this disease,” Manalich said. He added that the health system was able to cope, as deaths remain low, with 347 from COVID-19 since Mar 3.

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  • Chicureo

    Although I agree with the current emergency restrictions in the Metropolitan area, Latin American economies as a whole do not have the luxury of supporting their citizens with massive social assistance.

    I've been fortunate to guarantee continued income to all our full time employees, but most companies have been left with no alternative except to furlough their workforces. High unemployment is untenable and there is a strong counter argument from the Swedish experience, that has intelligently kept its economy functioning.

    There is also an alternative argument about herd immunity, but my philosophy is to seize the new opportunities now available. The world economy will come back eventually.

    Meanwhile, I'm using unemployed craftsmen to completely renovate our old farmhouse. There's an old saying: “What doesn't kill you, makes you stronger”

    ¡Salud para todos!

    May 14th, 2020 - 08:06 pm +1
  • Chicureo

    Enrique, your attached article reminds me of the Shakespeare quote: “the Devil can cite scripture for his purpose”

    Sweden has been able to maintain employment, despite a large group within their nation that refuses to integrate into their society. Their global economic trade is screwed and it will result in an enormous drop like Denmark and Germany, but those nations can afford it vs. poor nations that cannot.

    ...Chile has over 300.000 tons of unsold copper, yet we continue to mine...

    It's easy to stockpile copper, but eventually (like socialism) you run out of someone else's money...

    Fortunately, we have an excellent credit standing and emergency reserves, but high unemployment frightens everyone.

    This economic crisis due to the current pandemic is definitely harming the the less privileged lower economic class throughout Latin America that greatly depend on income that has nearly evaporated.

    You may find it distainful, but I'm assisting some very fine unemployed craftsmen in providing them with income and buying furnishing/materials from retailers/vendors facing bankruptcy. Right now, it's a buyers market.

    Thanks to my glorious socialist ex-President Bachelet's aggressive immigration policy, the number of unskilled and underemployed workforce has substantially increased since the dire days of a decade ago, when we worried about farm labor.

    We just completed a complete remodeling of an apartment in Valle Nevado and have really enjoyed a new shared avocation in design. The last serious remodel of the family farmhouse was in 1962 and this is the perfect time to restore its historic beauty.

    I lift my goblet in in finding the best out of what has been a terrible year...
    ...this is the moment to celebrate life, love and living well!

    Sincerely, I wish you and your family good health!

    May 14th, 2020 - 11:26 pm +1
  • Chicureo

    Estimado THINK

    Always a pleasure to read your august commentary. I hope you and all those you care for are well.

    This horrible pandemic has been a wonderful reminder that we should cherish the ones we love and live life to its fullest, because there's no certainty. It also makes sense to spend more of the accumulated wealth you have.

    During times of crisis, you survive by making the best out of what your faced with —but wise people thrive in quickly seizing the new opportunities as they serendipitously arise.

    As you well know, because your nation decided to wage an aggressive posture against mine as well as the UK, I was eventually given a full scholarship to the naval academy — which provided me a snazzy uniform that excited the hormones of an attractive Lycée Français coed far above my social standing — that has blessed me with a beautiful family. Because of this pandemic, I now much-more appreciate this fortunate blessing.

    Also as I mentioned, due to Bachelet's immigration policies (note the earlier Mercopress article referenced), there is an abundant agricultural labor force available despite our dire projections of a decade ago.

    If you remember, Madame Defarge forced us to change to a new apartment in Viña and then because of the financial collapse of our neighbor; we acquired his apartment below us there as well as his in Valle Nevado.

    The apartment in Valle Nevado became an opportunity for Madam and I to completely design/renovate the twenty year old unit with the most avant-garde furnishings available at a fraction of the normal cost.

    We now are doing the same now with our beloved, yet neglected farm house because the timing has never been more opportune...

    For agricultural exporters, the interim economics are lined up very well, with reasonable abundant labor and operational costs in pesos — with eventual earnings in dollars and low interest working lines of credit readily available.

    Everyone I know is happy with continued income.


    May 15th, 2020 - 07:07 pm +1
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