Piñera announces food baskets; COVID-19 cases soar above 46,000 in Chile


SANTIAGO – President Sebastián Piñera has announced new measures to cope with the coronavirus, at a time when about 45% of the Chilean population is under confinement.

Piñera made the announcement on a national TV, in which he assured that “we are entering a new stage” of the health crisis and in which he announced five aid mechanisms for the population.

The first of these is the delivery of food baskets. “Complementing what municipalities and civil society are doing, the government will soon begin distributing 2.5 million baskets of food and other essential items for the most vulnerable and middle-class families in need,” Piñera said.

According to him, the idea is “to accompany and support the most vulnerable and middle-class families, who need the services of the State.”

Likewise, he announced a State-guaranteed Fund and a network of non-bank financial institutions to provide working capital to SMEs; a mental health accompaniment program; the extension of the sanitary residences; and the provision of “more information disaggregated at the level of each commune, which “will allow more effective action by our mayors.”

In his message, Piñera took advantage of taking stock of the efforts that have been made to combat the virus, and in passing acknowledged the difficulties that had to be faced. “Today we need all of them. We need each one of you who is seeing us at home. We need public officials. We need the Government and the opposition united, the businessmen and workers, the unions and unions, all the civil society, Chileans and migrants.”

“No country, not even the most developed ones, was prepared for the coronavirus pandemic, as evidenced by the evident saturation of health systems in high-development countries. Chile was not ready either, we have to be humble to recognize it. Faced with the enormous difficulties we face, we have all made a gigantic effort, “the president added.

Along these lines, he admitted that “the Chilean health system is extraordinarily and increasingly demanded”, for which reason he reinforced his call for collaboration. “The coronavirus pandemic does not recognize borders, nationalities, or political ideologies. So today is a time of unity and not of division. Of greatness and not of smallness. Of collaboration and not of confrontations.”

Chile’s Health Ministry has so far reported a total of 46,059 cases of coronavirus in the country, with at least 478 deaths.