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SANTIAGO: Chile reported on Sunday (Apr 19) that there were more than 10,000 people in the country with COVID-19, the third-highest tally in Latin America, as the virus 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 stabilisation in the numbers of new cases, in the range of 300 to 400 in recent days.

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

A drone from the municipality of the town of Zapallar delivers medicine to elderlies

A drone from the municipality of the town of Zapallar delivers medicine to elderlies who are socially isolated to prevent contracting the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Zapallar, Chile. (Courtesy of Municipality of Zapallar/Handout via REUTERS)

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

A drone from the municipality of the town of Zapallar delivers medicine to the elderly

A drone from the municipality of the town of Zapallar delivers medicine to the elderly who are socially isolated due to efforts to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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

Stimulus measures to combat the coronavirus pandemic will deepen the fiscal deficit to eight per cent, the largest gap since at least 1990, the government said on Apr 17.

Chile has already announced a stimulus package of US$17 billion, worth more than five per cent 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.

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Asia News

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