COVID surging in Chile despite vaccinations | Daily News

COVID surging in Chile despite vaccinations

Chile’s vaccination campaign against the Coronavirus has been one of the world’s quickest and most extensive, but a recent surge in infections has sparked concern beyond its borders.

Almost 40% of the South American country’s total population has now received at least one dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, according to statistics compiled by Our World in Data, reflecting one of the highest vaccination rates in the world.

Only Israel and the U.K., respectively, have inoculated a larger share of their population with at least one dose.

Nonetheless, Chile has endured a sharp uptick in Coronavirus infections in recent weeks, even with its world-renowned vaccine rollout and strict lockdowns in place for much of its 19 million inhabitants.

The Pan American Health Organization’s regional director has since emphasized that for most countries in the region, vaccines won’t be enough to prevent rising infection rates.

Health Minister Enrique Paris on Thursday told reporters that he hoped the surge in daily cases had now climbed to its highest point.

“Once we reach that peak, we expect not a reduction but a stabilization and then a return to smaller numbers of positive patients,” he said, according to Reuters.

Health experts say the country’s latest surge in cases has, in part, been driven by more virulent strains of the virus, a relaxation of public health measures, increased mobility and defiance of simple precautions — such as physical distancing and wearing a mask.

Chile’s center-right government, led by President Sebastian Pinera, had ordered the closure of the country’s borders from March to November of 2020, albeit with a few exceptions, before the decision was taken to reopen them to international passengers late last year.

Shops, restaurants and some holiday resorts were also opened in a bid to boost the country’s pandemic-stricken economy.(CNBC)