Chilean health authorities have confirmed four cases of community transmission of the coronavirus Delta variant, it was announced Monday.
The new scenario has led health policy supervisors to rule out a declaration of herd immunity despite a steady decline in hospitalizations over the past few weeks.
Group immunity depends on two factors: one is that the immunization rate is high, and we comply with that; and the other is the potency of the virus, Health Minister Enrique Paris explained.
We are seeing what has happened in other countries of the world with the Delta variant, which advances very quickly, so it is necessary to further increase the number of people vaccinated, he added.
There are 59 cases confirmed natiowide of the Delta strain, the most contagious according to the World Health Organization (WHO), of which 55 are related to travelers and 4 are of community transmission, which means those patients had not left the country anytime recently.
Chile deployed one of the most successful immunization campaigns in the world, reaching more than 80% of the target population with two doses and almost 87% with one injection, mostly from Coronavac, but also Pfizer, AstraZeneca and CanSino.
After a serious second wave that lasted from March to July and put the hospital system against the ropes, the pandemic has stabilized for more than a month and has retreated to levels of contagion not seen since April 2020.
In the last 24 hours, the country added 921 new cases and 88 deaths that leave the total balance of the pandemic in more than 1.6 million cases and 35,616 total deaths. The national positivity rate in PCR tests has been below 3% for more than two weeks and in the 24 hours before Monday it had reached 1.47%.
Active cases, which means that they can infect other people, have fallen to 7,504, well below the more than 40,000 registered during the second wave.
Despite the drastic improvement, health authorities maintain the closure of borders for foreigners since April and the curfew from 00:00 to 5:00 in most of the country.
Health Undersecretary Paula Daza said that the arrival of the Delta variant in Chile is a situation that worries us very importantly, and that is why we have strengthened the management of the control of the pandemic.
Today in our country we have 59 confirmed cases of the Delta variant, of which 55 are related to travelers, either cases that have traveled or have been close contacts that are related to travelers. And we have four cases of community circulation, she added.
Regarding the four cases of community transmission, Daza explained that these four people are from the Metropolitan Region, two are isolated in health residences, all are in good general condition and the other two are a couple of older adults, who are quarantining at their home and with daily visits” by health monitoring teams.
Daza also pointed out that close contacts with these four cases had been isolated and control measures had been “strengthened.