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MARCH 16, 2020

Chile enters the Stage 4 Coronavirus transmission scenario and President Piñera announces the closure of the borders and secures the supply chain

This stage is characterized by viral circulation and community transmission of the disease. The President has stressed that people should follow strict personal care protocols and avoid any unnecessary travel or circulation, preferably remaining at home.

On Monday, President Sebastián Piñera announced that the number of confirmed Coronavirus cases in Chile totaled 155, according to Health Ministry figures. According to the World Health Organization definition, the country has therefore entered the fourth transmission scenario for this disease, during which viral circulation and community transmission of the virus occur.

Based on the Action Plan, the recommendations of the World Health Organization, recommendations from the Group of Experts, and the experiences of other countries, the President has announced the following additional measures for addressing the pandemic and better protecting the health of all Chileans:
Border closures
All Chile’s land, maritime and air borders will be closed for the transit of foreign nationals beginning on Wednesday, March 18. This will not impact the entry and exit of cargo or carriers in order to ensure normal supply. Chilean nationals and permanent residents of Chile coming from high-risk areas may enter the country if they submit to the Health Customs Office and undergo a mandatory 14-day period of quarantine.
Any person who does not follow quarantine orders will be fined and face a prison sentence in accordance with the Sanitary Code and Penal Code. Article 318 of the Penal Code states that, “Anyone who endangers the public health by violating hygiene or health rules duly published by officials during a catastrophe, epidemic or outbreak will be punished with the minimum level of ordinary imprisonment or a fine of six to 20 monthly tax units.” (a UTM or monthly tax unit is currently worth about US$59)
Armed Services support
In support of maintaining border control, the Armed Forces have been requested to ensure that the border closures we have established are respected.
Supply chain
The supply chain is functioning normally in regard to both the production and distribution of the various goods. As such, there is no need for citizens to stock up in excess.
Presidential directive
A Presidential directive has been implemented that includes:

  • All public sector workers over the age of 70 or who belong to a high risk group may work from home when the circumstances so require.
  • Heads of service may establish special measures for more flexible working hours and may encourage teleworking.
  • Only ceremonies, events, and public acts that are strictly necessary will be held, and participation will be limited to no more than 50 people in each case.
  • Foreign travel of public officials will be limited to trips that are absolutely necessary.
  • A special 220 billion pesos (around US$258 million) fund that was announced on Friday will be used to cover the extraordinary expenditure of the Action Plan.

The President emphasized that all of these measures are necessary to protect the health of the Chilean population. “However, it is not only the collaboration of State agencies that is vital, but especially the collaboration and responsibility of all citizens, in following all personal care protocols, complying with the recommendations issued by the health authorities and avoiding all unnecessary journeys and movements, preferably remaining at home.”