Chile toughens up on border, quarantine controls

Photo by the Santiago Times. Sketched by the Pan Pacific Agency.

SANTIAGO, Jun 27, 2021, Merco Press. Chile has imposed new restrictive measures to enter the country and extended the closure of its borders until July 14, Health Ministry authorities announced Thursday, Merco Press reported.

The new announcement is coupled with the detection of the first case of the Delta variant of SARS-CoV-2, considered much more contagious than the others, is a 43-year-old Chilean woman who arrived from the United States.

The Chilean borders have been closed since the beginning of April, and those who wish to leave must seek an extraordinary permit from Carabineros (police) for situations of extreme importance due to health or humanitarian situations.

Health Undersecretary Paula Daza Thursday insisted that to be allowed into Chile, people must have a negative PCR test carried out in the country of origin, which should not exceed 72 hours between the collection of the sample and the passenger’s departure.

“Foreigners who enter Chile and who have the relevant authorization must have health insurance to cover any expense caused by covid-19,” she added. And all travellers at the airport are subjected to a direct detection test for SARS-CoV-2, which if positive will be sent immediately to the Institute of Public Health to be sequenced and detect any of the variants of the coronavirus.

Daza also pointed out that all travellers must carry out strict isolation for five days in a transit hotel and subsequently, the remaining five days, at their homes together with their relatives. She stressed that travellers cannot leave the transit hotel and home or receive visits or go to work, study or meet with other people or request permission for these activities.

Daza also vowed “to strongly strengthen the inspection and monitoring” of the observance of these quarantine measures. She also warned that the breach of isolation by travellers or their co-inhabitants will entail fines as well as the disabling of their mobility passes until payments are made.”

On a brighter note, as of next Tuesday 32 communes (municipalities) including 24 from the Santiago Metropolitan Region, which come out of quarantine, although a high ranking health official has admitted the measure is due more to “pandemic fatigue” suffered by those who have been in quarantine for more than three months rather than to any actual improvements in the fight against the coronavirus.

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