Chile extends COVID-19 state of emergency for third time

SANTIAGO, Dec. 3 (Xinhua) -- Chilean President Sebastian Pinera on Thursday extended a state of emergency for the third time, to continue imposing restrictions to curb the spread of the novel coronavirus (COVID-19).

The 90-day extension to the state of catastrophe, which was declared more than 8 months ago, came amid fears that Chile may see a second wave of infections in early 2021, fueled by holiday season socializing.

"The state of catastrophe allows us ... to restrict the freedoms and movements of people and take measures such as lockdowns or curfews, which we consider necessary and must be able to impose if they become more necessary in the future," Pinera said during a ceremony at the government headquarters commemorating the victims of the pandemic.

Pinera first declared the state of catastrophe on March 18, following the start of the outbreak, which has so far seen 555,406 cases of COVID-19 infection and 15,519 deaths from the disease.

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