Covid upends final stretch of Chile’s presidential campaign

chile president covid boric
Gabriel Boric during the Nov. 1 presidential debate. Photo: Alberto Valdes/EFE

Gabriel Boric, a left-of-center presidential hopeful in Chile, has tested positive for Covid-19 this week and will be isolated from the public as a prevention measure.

His diagnosis will also temporarily suspend multiple activities within Chilean politics ahead of the election in two weeks’ time. Mr. Boric encountered some 54 people in recent days, who will all now have to self-isolate for seven days. That will halt the in-person campaigning of his top competitors — José Antonio Kast, Yasna Provoste, and Sebastián Sichel — with whom Mr. Boric participated in a debate earlier this week. Though Ms. Provoste and Mr. Sichel have already tested negative for Covid-19, Chilean law states that they still have to remain isolated for a week.

It could also affect discussions in Congress to impeach President Sebastián Piñera and to authorize a fourth early pension withdrawal program.

Case numbers are rebounding in the so-called “Metropolitan Region” of Chile — which includes the capital Santiago — with the country reintroducing some Covid restrictions after reporting the highest number of new cases in 14 weeks. Maximum capacity in public events and private gatherings was reduced, with tougher limits for those without a mobility pass — though the country is still far from returning to a full lockdown.