Information last updated: May 11, 2020
National state of catastrophe since March 18, mandatory quarantine for selected municipalities (no more than 5% from a total of 345 – see map below graph). Social distancing recommendations for everyone else and national curfew from 10 pm to 5 am.
Response set up and capacity
The Ministerio de Salud (hereinafter Minsal) is in charge of the national response. Since March 22nd, Minsal has established a coordination entity called Mesa Social, formed by representatives of government, academia, civil society and WHO, to coordinate the national response to the crisis.
Minsal publishes regional daily tables on the number of confirmed cases and deaths since March 9th; since March 10th, a short daily report about the status of advancement of the pandemic; and every two days since March 30th, they publish a detailed report with the number of cases at the municipality level.
Entities / Organizations
• Head of coordination: Minister of Health
• Mesa Social members: Interior Minister, Science Minister, representative from PAHO/WHO, President of the Colegio Médico, representatives from the universities and the Asociación de Municipalidades
• National security and reinforcement of supplies to the health system - Ejército de Chile
• Instituto de Salud Pública
• Scientific community
Mitigating factors - What is being done?
- March 15 – All schools in the country close.
- March 18 – Declaration of the pandemic as a State of Catastrophe. This entails that the president can restrict freedom of movement, make use of private property to face the catastrophe, suspend all public events, among others; all international borders are closed; government announces an economic plan of USD 11,750 million (4,7% of GDP) to reinforce the health system, protect household incomes, and support of jobs and employers plus additional fiscal and monetary measures.
- March 22 – due to sanitary conditions, different zones will be progressively isolated and cordoned off.
- March 24 – the government enacts the “distance work and telework law” which modifies the country’s Labor Code that regulates and supervises distance work.
- March 26 – Mandatory quarantine measures are put in place in 15 municipalities with the highest rate confirmed cases per inhabitant (total of 7 municipalities corresponding to part of the central and eastern zones of the Santiago Metropolitan Region; Minsal announces an increase of 10% on the number of available beds and the duplication of ventilators. Nevertheless, there are serious doubts about when these utilities will arrive, given high demand from Europe and North America.
- April 8 – The usage of masks in public and private transport is declared mandatory, while the government announces a second pack of measures of 2M USD aiming to help the informal sector through cash transfers and PME’s via the private banking sector.
- April 16 – The President promulgated the General Commutative Pardon Law, which will allow the exchange of the deprivation of liberty of some inmates for the penalty of house arrest, in order to decongest jails.
- April 21 – Chinese government donation is received. More than 11 thousand personal protection items for workers in the health sector, which includes masks, glasses, aprons, among other implements, as well as infrared thermometers. At the same time ColMed publishes its third report revealing a lack of these on 65% of their respondents.
- April 23 – The government announced its intention to start a plan that will focus on public servants returning to their posts, students returning to their classrooms and malls opening their doors under certain protocols between the end of April and early May. The announcement has been contested, though no specific steps have been outlined. In addition, 10% of the country’s prison population have been released from prisons to continue serving their sentences or precautionary measures at their homes during the pandemic.
- May 6th – the Mesa de Datos COVID headed by Ministerio de Ciencia delivered their first report aiming to organize and make available data from the COVID-19 epidemic to carry out predictive, scientific and clinical analyzes, contributing to its understanding and evidence-based decision-making.
- May 8th – the biggest quarantine since the beginning of the pandemic, was launched at 10 pm. Almost a third of the Chilean population is now confined and 82% of ICU beds in the metropolitan region are in use.
Risks, vulnerabilities, obstacles
- While the government is projecting the peak of contamination in May some scientists are arguing this could be happen by end August.
- The scientific community is pushing for having better data, for instance, daily reports at the municipality level, and a a faster system of diagnosis, as in average it takes 72 hours to diagnose a new case of SARS-COV-2.
- Taking into account that every winter the health system collapses due to influenza or pneumonia, the government response necessitates a stronger and faster response.
- Concerning gender based violence, in April while femicides crimes are low (4) there are municipalities where domestic violence complaints increased in a 500%.
Potential actions and demands
- Most of the discrepancies which occurred and were highlighted by the media occurred between Minsal, the Asociación de Municipalidades and the Colegio Médico. Since the installation of Mesa Social, discrepancies between public figures have decreased in intensity.
- A group of mayors and a group of scientists continues to push the government to enact a nationwide quarantine.
- Parliamentary opposition is pushing for social protection which uses common funds rather than individual unemployment insurance only.
- The Colegio Médico reports that 65% of their sample from their third online Healthcare Worker Survey declares lack of basic instruments for protecting themselves from infection.
- Some public personalities and opinion leaders are noticing the risks of a second rise in public protests if the government does not focus expenditure and guarantees equal access to health and economic wellbeing.