Despite fast vaccination, Chile back on lockdown

lockdown chile
Airport in Temuco, Chile. Photo: JaviTravel/Shutterstock

Chile boasts the fastest Covid-19 vaccination rollout in Latin America, having administered 5.56 million jabs as of Friday — or 30 percent of the country’s population. However, the benefits of quick immunization have yet to show up, and the Health Ministry decided to implement a lockdown in 24 communes, meaning almost half of Chile’s population will be under the most severe coronavirus restrictions once more. 

Between March 14 and 20, Chile registered 38,000 new coronavirus cases, forcing the government’s hand to reintroduce strict quarantine measures. The same occurred in May 2020, after the premature reopening of capital city Santiago. 

Along with pandemic fatigue, experts warn that the new peak of cases could be a side effect of vaccination. As the population begins to feel safer due to the efficient immunization rollout, individual prevention measures are relaxed and social distancing ignored. 

According to Health Minister Enrique Paris, it will be important to restrict the movement of the population until the government reaches its vaccination goal of 80 percent of the population, hoping to achieve herd immunity by June. As of Sunday, Chile has confirmed 931,939 coronavirus cases and 22,279 deaths.

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