Chile accelerates delivery of food baskets as COVID-19 cases approach 95,000


Ross Brown/The Santiago Times Staff

SANTIAGO – Chile’s Ministry of Health on Saturday reported a total of 4,220 new daily cases in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of positives to 94,858. Of the new cases, 3,736 are symptomatic and 484 are asymptomatic.

Another 53 people died, bringing the total number of deaths since the start of the pandemic to 997 in the South American country.

On the other hand, it was reported that 40,431 people are considered as recovered, while 1,372 are in Intensive Care Units.

Yesterday, 16,814 PCR tests were performed, the second highest number since the start of the tests, according to Health Minister Jaime Mañalich, reaching a total of 563,320 since the start of the pandemic.

Moreover, he indicated that there have been delays in some examination processes, specifically in the O’Higgins region; in the Antofagasta region, and in the Valparaíso region. In all of them, steps have already been taken to have more resources in terms of laboratories.

According to Mañalich, there are 1,371 people undergoing intensive treatment in Chile for COVID-19, and 83% of them connected to a mechanical ventilator.

‘Food baskets’

Meanwhile, President Sebastián Piñera announced that the pace at which food baskets are being delivered to the most vulnerable families affected by the pandemic will accelerate.

As detailed by the President, it is expected that on June 21 there will be at least 1.5 million boxes of merchandise destined for the Metropolitan region.

“I want to announce that we are going to accelerate the rhythm of distribution,” said the President, adding “we have organized our production system in such a way that starting this week we are going to increase the daily baskets to 60,000 and very soon to 80,000.”

The distribution of these boxes began on May 22 and to date the government has managed to distribute more than 122 thousand baskets in the RM. and more than 35,000 in the other regions, which makes a total of 157,000 baskets. “But it is not enough and that is why I want to announce that we are going to accelerate the distribution rate.”

“This effort will also occur in all regions of Chile to finish the distribution of that 2.5 million families as soon as possible,” he said.

On Friday, authorities renewed the quarantines in 41 communes of the country, 38 of which correspond to the Metropolitan Region, a sector of the country that concentrates 80.44% of the cases of contagion nationwide. The measure will remain active until at least Friday, June 5.