Chile's coronavirus cases rise above 10,000, third highest in Latin America


  • World
  • Sunday, 19 Apr 2020

FILE PHOTO: Workers wearing protective gear disinfect taxis, following the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Santiago, Chile April 17, 2020. REUTERS/Ivan Alvarado

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Chile reported on Sunday that there were more than 10,000 people in the country with the coronavirus, the third-highest tally in Latin America, as the disease ravages the economy of the world's top copper producer.

Chile has 10,088 confirmed cases, up by 358 from a day earlier, health ministry officials said. They said they were beginning to see a stabilization in the numbers of new cases, in the range of 300 to 400 in recent days.

Large swaths of Santiago, a city of 6 million, are under lockdown, and virtually all non-essential businesses have been closed for weeks.

Chile recorded its first coronavirus case on March 3 and took 23 days to reach 1,000 cases. It took only 13 more days to reach 5,000 on April 7, according to a Reuters tally. Chile has reported a total of 133 deaths, the health ministry said.

In Latin America, only Brazil and Peru have more cases.

Stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic will deepen the fiscal deficit to 8%, the largest gap since at least 1990, the government said on April 17.

Chile has already announced a stimulus package of $17 billion, worth more than 5% of gross domestic product. The measures include beefed-up unemployment checks and government-backed credit lines for small business.

The coronavirus is only the latest of Chile's economic headaches. Mass protests and riots over inequality that broke out late in 2019 had already disrupted the country´s economy, leaving businesses with billions in losses and hammering growth and investment.

(GRAPHIC - World-focused tracker with country-by-country interactive, https://graphics.reuters.com/HEALTH-CORONAVIRUS/COUNTRIES/oakveqlyvrd/index.html?id=united-kingdom)

(Reporting by Natalia Ramos; Writing by Lisa Shumaker and Cassandra Garrison; editing by Grant McCool)

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