Chile's health minister says: Coronavirus could mutate into a "better person"
Chile's health minister has not listened to calls for the country to initiate a full quarantine to help combat the spread of the COVID-19 coronavirus as he indicated that it could mutate into a "better person."
Jaime Manalich said that President Sebastián Piñera should not accept calls to order a total quarantine. A total of 56 mayors wrote an open letter to the President of Chile, asking to declare total quarantine on Friday, March 20.
The number of confirmed cases in the South American country is currently 922 with 2 people deceased, the first case being registered on March 3. In 21 days the virus has spread to almost a thousand people. Piñera declared a 90-day state of catastrophe in Chile, which allows the government the freedom to restrict movements in the country and control the food supply.
Chile has closed schools and borders, banning mass meetings. "According to our calculations, the number of cases doubles their number every 3 days," said Manalich. "This is all variable since we are talking about a particle that can only see under a microscope and we cannot predict its behavior." "What happens if the virus mutates into a more benign being? And the only thing it produces is a common cold" "What if the virus mutates and transforms; sorry for the word, in a better person? That is a different game" .
Chile announced a nightly curfew from 10 pm to 5 am since last Sunday to prevent people from gathering on the streets. The government closed cinemas, restaurants, bars and clubs on Friday. Manalich also announced plans to isolate different areas of Chile where the virus has not yet appeared, or with fewer cases, such as the islands of Chile and Puerto Williams in Patagonia.
President Piñera had declared a state of emergency in October 2019 amid widespread protests and arrests for protests against the cost of living in the country, which severely affected his popularity among the population.
Health experts in the country have criticized Piñera for the lack of leadership to respond to the COVID-19 outbreak in the country. "Measures are lacking and the president is not talking", said Izkia Siches, director of the medical college. A biweekly table is currently operating with different professionals, government officials and mayors.