Chile added 3,709 new cases of COVID-19 this Sunday, bringing the total number of infected to 69,102, while the country’s president, Sebastián Piñera, warned that the hospital system is “very close to the limit.”
“We are very aware that the health system is highly demanded, highly demanded. Yesterday, I listened to some specialists who said that we are very close to the limit. It is true, we are very close to the limit,” said the president during a visit to a new field hospital south of Santiago.
The situation is especially critical in the capital, the main source of infection and where a strict quarantine for nearly 7 million people has been in force since May 15 and until at least May 29.
“It is not enough to worry and report, you have to deal with and contribute to the solution of the problem. We are making all humanly possible efforts,” said the conservative president, who announced the installation of other modular hospitals, which will bring 500 new beds to the network .
In the last 24 hours, 45 new deaths were also registered, bringing the total balance to 718 deaths, the vast majority of them in the capital, where hospital occupation is close to 94%.
Along with the number of new cases and deaths, the number of patients admitted to intensive care also increased, reaching 1,090, of which 942 need mechanical ventilation and 212 are in critical condition.
The Santiago mega-quarantine had been ruled out since the start of the pandemic by the Government, which defended the “selective and strategic” quarantines, with movement restrictions that are imposed and lifted in each commune based on the new infections.
The Chilean government, in fact, began to speak at the end of April about returning to normal, but had to back down before the explosive increase in cases during the first week of May.
Piñera ruled this Sunday that the spread of the virus is due to this call to resume economic activities, but insisted that quarantines cannot last forever.
“Just as we started preparing early (to stop the coronavirus), we also have to prepare early for when the safe return comes. We cannot have our entire country permanently quarantined,” he added.
Chile, one of the countries that carry out the most PCR tests in the region, is under a state of exception, with a night curfew, with closed schools, universities and borders, as well as most of the shops that are not essential items.