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JAN. 31, 2020

Chile’s Health Minister meets with China’s Ambassador regarding the coronavirus outbreak in that country

The officials exchanged information regarding the situation in China and the measures that have been taken to combat the epidemic.

In the context of the outbreak of coronavirus 2019-nCoV in China, Health Minister Jaime Mañalich met with China’s Ambassador to Chile, Xu Bu, to exchange information about the situation in that country and the measures that have been taken to combat the epidemic.

“I expressed to the Ambassador, on behalf of President Sebastián Piñera, our admiration and gratitude for the way in which the Chinese government has handled this situation (…) We know that two hospitals are being built quickly in the city of Wuhan, that they will be operational during the first few weeks of February, and that scientists are working very hard to find medications and vaccines that can combat this illness,” the Minister remarked.

For his part, Chinese Ambassador Xu Bu explained that his country’s government “is making every effort to fight the coronavirus and that all of the measures that have been taken in this process reflect an attitude of openness, transparency and responsibility.”

Ambassador Xu Bu mentioned several actions including the organization of a care network for people who have contracted the virus, preventative measures designed to control the epidemic, research for developing medicines and vaccines, and the construction of new hospitals.

The situation in Chile
In regard to Chile, the Health Minister said that “no cases of the new coronavirus have been identified to date” and that there are no suspected cases under investigation. “But that situation may change,” he noted.

The official added that our country is adopting the measures established in the International Health Regulations. Beginning today, health stations will be installed in Santiago airport to check any passenger who has visited a country with confirmed cases of coronavirus 2019-nCoV and is sick or presents symptoms. A survey will also be conducted at the health station.

In regard to the possibility of installing thermal screening mechanisms in airports, the Minister explained that the situation does not yet warrant such action. “The measures may be scaled up if the WHO decides they should or if a national evaluation indicates that it would be productive and advisable,” he said.

In regard to the situation of Chileans who are under quarantine in Wuhan, the Minister said, “We have great respect for the decisions that the Chinese government has taken. We believe that they are appropriate.”

He added, “The Chilean Ambassador to China is contacting everyone who may be under quarantine (which is about to end), and if any of our fellow Chileans wish to return to Chile when it is over, they will face no restrictions.”