Chilean authorities have lifted the curfew imposed over a year and a half ago as a part of the sanitary measures against the COVID-19 pandemic effective Oct. 1, it was announced.
The return to pre-pandemic ways of life could be noticed from the very beginning, according to local media reports, although 895 new coronavirus infections had been detected Thursday, according to Health Ministry sources.
Businesses extended their opening hours Thursday to celebrate the occasion, hoping potential customers would quickly adjust to the new state of things. Owners of nightlife venues had hoped for a larger turnout, but were nonetheless confident things would change Friday and Saturday evening.
The decision was made last Monday, right after announcing the reopening of borders to the entry of vaccinated foreigners as of October 1, after several weeks with a significant decrease in positive cases.
It was necessary to provide our country with greater and better tools to combat the coronavirus pandemic by restricting freedom and mobility of people through measures such as quarantines, sanitary cords and a curfew. This state of catastrophe allowed for the assistance of the Armed Forces in the control and supervision of the exceptional measures that the government had to adopt, said President Sebastián Piñera during the announcement, which in practical terms means there will no longer be regional or community quarantines.
Nevertheless, measures such as the isolation of positive cases and their close contacts in addition to suspects and travelers, capacity restrictions to public venues subject to the ongoing epidemiological situation, will be maintained.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic in March 2020, 1.6 million positive cases have been detected in Chile, with deaths exceeding 45,000 people
A total 378 patients are currently hospitalized in intensive care units (ICU), 273 of them under mechanical ventilation support.
Despite this health scenario, Chile's economy showed a 19.1% growth in August, according to the Central Bank's (BC) Monthly Index of Economic Activity (Imacec).
The seasonally adjusted series increased 1.1% compared to the previous month and 17.8% in twelve months, the CB stated.
All items measured by Imacec grew compared to the same period of the previous year, highlighting the contribution of services and trade activities.
According to the BC, this result was mainly explained by the greater openness of the economy, the measures to support households, the partial withdrawals of pension funds and the lower comparison base in August of the previous year.
For its part, the seasonally adjusted growth of Imacec was explained by the performance of services, reflecting the lower restrictions on people's mobility compared to the previous month.