SANTIAGO (Reuters) – Chile on Thursday extended a state of catastrophe that allows for the control of movement of people through curfews and lockdowns.
“The virus is still with us and therefore continues to pose a serious threat to health and life,” President Sebastian Pinera said as he announced the measure.
The Latin American nation has brought the coronavirus outbreak, which hit in March, largely under control, reporting 1,400 new infections on average each day compared to as many as 6,000 daily at the peak in June.
Lockdowns have been removed in many parts of the country including the capital Santiago, the borders have been reopened to foreigners and people have begun returning to offices and classes.
On Wednesday though, with the virus still blighting the country’s southern cities and numbers ticking up in the capital and elsewhere, authorities warned of a potential second wave to hit in January before any vaccines arrive, which could in a worst-case scenario result in 9,500 new cases each day.
“We think that’s the reality and has happened in other countries, and with much greater strength than the first wave,” said health minister Enrique Paris.
(Reporting by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Chris Reese)