Images of the crowded airport, with long lines to enter the country, were recorded yesterday, the last day that Arturo Merino Benítez, from the capital Santiago, remained open, which from today will be closed for a month to tourists, residents and Chileans.
The country had already shielded borders between March and November last year and is now closing them again in the face of the worsening health crisis, which has raised the occupancy rate of intensive care beds to 95%, the highest level to date.
“The whole world is experiencing this serious outbreak of coronavirus (…) In Chile, we were hit hard by this re-attack that has our health system at the limit”, acknowledged in a note the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera.
For some days, Chile had already been applying severe restrictions to travelers, who had to arrive with negative PCR and spend ten days in confinement, five of them in a special hotel paid for out of pocket.
The advance of the curfew at 9 pm also began to dominate today due to the great increase in new cases and the rate of positivity, partly encouraged by the arrival of strains from abroad, such as the Brazilian and the British.
The second wave, which began in December with the arrival of summer, worsened in March after the holidays and now more than 83% of the population is in total quarantine, including the capital, where more than 7 million people live and all non-essential companies remain closed.
Experts from the scientific community point out that this recovery is due to an overconfidence on the part of the government, which lifted restrictions during the summer, relying on the smooth running of the vaccination process, one of the fastest in the world.
Chile has already inoculated a dose in almost 7 million people, which represents 45% of its population and places it as the third country in the world with the highest percentage of vaccinated population.
“We never underestimated the pandemic (…) We made mistakes, but we tried to correct them,” said the president.
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