translated from Spanish: La Serena and Coquimbo enter quarantine after the blackest week since the start of the pandemic

On Monday, the authorities of the Ministry of Health announced the setback in the Paso a Paso a Cuarentena Plan of the towns of La Serena, Coquimbo and Valparaiso, a move that seemed imminent because of the health situation.
The increase in cases after January and February hit the area hard, despite the different measures taken from both the central and regional governments.
Due to the above, from this Thursday at five in the morning the total confinement will begin.
Although the health system has had to adapt to the new demand for coronavirus patients, Rubén Quezada, regional president of La Serena Medical College, said that «the health network in the Coquimbo region is critical, we have increased from 22 beds of Intensive Care Units to more than 100, but the teams that have had to maintain these 100 beds are totally exhausted and much of them sick.»
It even indicated that support staff had to be used as an extreme measure and many of them did not have the experience to address these cases.
In addition, he indicated that since the Medical College they have warned of this situation since the beginning of 2021 because the increase in mobility in these months is associated with an increase in contagions as has been shown in other countries.
«Quarantine becomes the last step in trying to reduce mobility and contagion. Unfortunately, no measures were taken that we recommend such as reducing and limiting holiday permits,» he said.
Regarding last week, the doctor indicated that it was the «blackest» the region has experienced in terms of new cases, active cases, hospitalized patients and deceased patients.
For his part, the mayor of La Serena, Roberto Jacob, noted that this measure was seen to come because cases grew exponentially over the last few weeks. However, he criticized the government, as, according to local authority, confinement «should have left much earlier. There are larger numbers compared to when we enter quarantine last time, so all that’s left is to respect it so we can get out sooner.»
In this same line, the mayor of Coquimbo, Marcelo Pereira was focused on pointing out that the commune focuses on a point of no return that has been evident quite some time ago and that they were waiting for this Quarantine. «We know that we need to prioritize health first and foremost, but we also need to have a plan for economic and social revival for families who are having a hard time today.»
The situation in the country has worsened over the past week, where numbers were reached that were not seen from the peak of the pandemic in mid-2020, reaching more than five thousand cases per day.
This is why 23 communes in the country will enter full confinement from Thursday.
In addition, there are 39 out of 52 communes in the capital that will be in transition, that is, they will have to stay in their homes during the weekends and holidays.
Although the country has already been inoculated for more than four million people and a shipment of two million Sinovac vaccines arrived on Monday, authorities said the herd effect will not be seen until June.
In view of the above, they called for further maintaining health measures to lower the number of contagions and thus prevent the collapse of health systems, which are already being demonstrated as in the case of La Serena.

Original source in Spanish

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