In wake of growing cases of COVID-19, Chile and France have both announced national lockdowns that will begin in a few days. While Chile will go into a full lockdown with border closures beginning Monday, April 5, France begins its lockdown on Saturday, April 3.

According to a statement issued by Chile’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, the following measures will take effect from Monday, April 5 at 05:00 A.M:

  • Travel abroad will be restricted for a period of 30 days, both for Chilean citizens and resident foreigners.
  • The entry of non-resident foreigners in Chile will also be prohibited for 30 days.
  • Truck drivers entering by land border will be required to have a PCR for a maximum of 72 hours and random antigen tests will be performed by health personnel on drivers entering the country.
  • Only travelers who have undergone a PCR test and whose results have been negative will be able to leave the transit hotel or the one authorized by the SEREMI after the 5th day.

In Chile, 7,830 new cases were reported on Thursday, taking the total tally to over 1 million. Many cases of the Brazil variant of COVID-19 were reported in Chile, and there are fears that the healthcare system could get overwhelmed soon. ICU bed occupancy remains high at 95 percent.

Several restrictions have been put in place, such as a ban on purchases and delivery of non-essential items like toys and electronics. The Santiago metropolitan region had already been under varying degrees of restriction since March 27. The country’s vaccination program has hitherto been targeting vulnerable populations such as those above 60 years of age.

France, meanwhile is all set to enter its third national lockdown on Saturday. The announcement was made by French President Emmanuel Macron in a televised address to the nation. Schools will be shut for at least three weeks, and that restrictions that had been put in place in 19 districts will now be extended nationwide. These include closure of non-essential businesses, no travel beyond 10 kilometers from one’s home, and people being asked to work from home.

President Macron described the condition in his country as delicate and placed emphasis on not only controlling the spread of the virus, but also to get more and more people vaccinated against the disease.

*Feature Image: Representational image of Catedral Metropolitana de Santiago by Nellu Mazilu via Wikimedia Commons.