SANTIAGO – The confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus in Chile have reached 7,917, including 92 deaths, while over 2,500 have recovered from infection as of Tuesday, according to state authorities.
But, health minister Jaime Mañalich says, those who have died are being counted among the country’s recovered population because they are “no longer contagious.”
It is yet unknown when Chile began including the dead among the number of people who have recovered. But the calculation has reportedly been adopted following validation by international health experts, the government claims.
At least 392 cases were reported in the South American country on Tuesday. President Sebastian Piñera had confirmed the first death of an 83-year-old woman due to COVID-19 on March 22.
Con mucha pena lamentamos primer fallecido en Chile por Coronavirus. Sabemos q tienen temores y angustia frente a esta Pandemia. Queremos darles la tranquilidad q estamos haciendo TODO lo necesario de manera responsable, sin improvisar y siguiendo las guías de la OMS y la ciencia
— Sebastian Piñera (@sebastianpinera) March 21, 2020
The world’s top copper producer has one of the highest tallies in Latin America, with large swaths of Santiago, a city of six million, under lockdown, while virtually all non-essential businesses have been closed for weeks.
President Piñera previously declared a state of emergency in the capital of Santiago in October 2019 amid widespread protests and unrest following rises in the cost of living in the country, which severely affected his popularity among residents.
Since first cases were reported, the government ordered the closing of cinemas, theaters, restaurants, bars, and nightclubs across the country, as well as the suspension of all sporting events in order to curb the spread of the virus.
Last month, Mañalich had anticipated that by the end of the year the Chilean government projects more than 1.5 million infections.
“Positive cases are doubling every three days, more or less what we had anticipated,” explained the Health minister.
Piñera’s stimulus packages
Last week, Piñera had announced a fresh two-billion-dollar fund to help support the country’s 2.6 million informal workers. The government had previously announced a nearly $12bn stimulus package, worth nearly 5 percent of all goods and services produced in the country, aimed at saving jobs and protecting small businesses.
“Our commitment has been to ensure that this transitory crisis does not turn into a permanent one,” Pinera said in a televised address.
This second phase of the stimulus also grants additional benefits to small business, including credit lines guaranteed by the state to help bridge the gap while most remain shuttered during the pandemic of COVID-19, the potentially lethal respiratory disease caused by the coronavirus.
Several of Chile’s neighbours in South America have also promised to unleash unprecedented stimulus packages.
The COVID-19 is affecting 210 countries and territories around the world and 2 international conveyances. Nearly 2 million people around the world have now been confirmed to have the new coronavirus, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University. More than 120,000 have died, while nearly 465,000 have recovered.