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Montevideo, May 29th 2023 - 15:58 UTC



Chileans hesitant to remove facemasks outdoors

Saturday, April 16th 2022 - 06:48 UTC
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Despite the Government's green light Thursday to remove facemasks in outdoor settings, Chileans have been reported to be afraid of taking the new step toward the old normal after more than two years of pandemic restrictions.

The new measure allows people to walk “bare face” wherever a one-meter distance can be kept from any other human being.

The sanitary restriction remains mandatory in crowded areas such as bus stops, free fairs, Metro entrances, or bus terminals.

Health Minister María Begoña Yarza said the authorities wanted to “verify, in a daily activity like this, what the understanding and use of the mask has been.”

Yarza praised fairground workers who “have become true health communicators, they know very well at what stage we are at, they can make recommendations, they are our allies.”

She recalled that health teams were also active at different points, in order to educate the population about the new measures, especially in those places where there is a flow of people.

Yarza explained there were “high levels of understanding” about the measures and she announced that “we will continue in the field, talking, approaching the community and confirming that this public policy, which is to take care of people, but also of the communities, is effective, it is going on well, people understand it and grow a sense of self-care.”

According to Psychology Professor Mónica Thodes, people kept their masks on because they “prefer not to expose themselves to possible contagion,” but also because “they still have to wear them [the masks] when there are several people. So, between putting it on and taking it off, they prefer to keep it on,” she told ANSA.

During the pandemic “we learned to know the look, to read what it says and to look the other person in the eyes to know their moods,” Thodes elaborated. “I don't know if it is so much discipline, it is the fear of getting infected and how disastrous it is to get sick in this country,” she explained to the Italian newswire service.

Faced with removing their masks and returning to face-to-face teaching, university professors asked themselves: “do we have insurance against Covid?,” according to Thodes.

There were 2,937 new COVID-19 infections reported Wednesday for a total of 11,402 active patients, in addition to 69 deaths in the last 24 hours, increasing the country's number of fatalities to 57,167.

Chilean health authorities also reported that 361 people were hospitalized in Intensive Care Units (ICUs), of which 263 were on mechanical ventilation support. (Source: ANSA)

Categories: Health & Science, Chile.

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