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May 14, 20 - 9:34 am - LABS

Chile announces total lockdown for Santiago after a surge in infections

Chile’s national government ordered a mandatory total quarantine for the capital Santiago on Wednesday, May 13, after a 60% spike in coronavirus infections over the previous 24 hours.

The Chilean health minister, Jaime Manalich, said the “extraordinary, tough new measures”, which take effect on Friday, May 15, are necessary to bring down the contagion rate. He also announced a nationwide quarantine for all people over 75.

We need the commitment of every citizen, to understands what is at play here and respect all the measures so we don’t face a collapse in the system because of a vertiginous increase in cases

Jaime Manalich, Chile’s Health minister

The Greater Santiago area, where approximately 6.5 million people live, is home to 80% of the country’s 34,000-plus infections. The country has 347 deaths related do COVID-19 up to Wednesday.

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.

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