Chile announced Friday the closure of borders until July 14 and will extend for 90 more days, until September 30, the constitutional state of emergency due to the arrival of the Delta variant of the Covid-19 virus, which has left 1.52 million infected and 31,797 dead in the country.
The Senate and the Chamber of Deputies approved the Thursday the request made by the President, Sebastián Piñera. “Given the new Delta strains that have entered the country and the fact we are entering the winter season, we must take this action to protect both our own people and visitors.”
Piñera added that border closure is a “preventive action” based on the higher contagiousness of the Delta and Delta Plus variants. “We are not seeing a surge of cases as we did earlier in the year but the number of hospitalizations and deaths has shown little decline in recent weeks and this must be reduced so we can return to normal activities. Based on a number of factors, we were concerned that the situation will worsen if we do not impose new measures.”
Chile leads Latin America in vaccination rate, with 65 percent of its 19 million residents being either fully or partially vaccinated with the Sinovac vaccine. In a statement Friday, the health ministry emphasized that ongoing infections and hospitalizations are almost entirely among the unvaccinated. “The vaccine has proven extremely effective and we are seeing almost no serious infections or hospitalizations among those who have been inoculated,” a ministry spokeswoman said.