The Minister of Health of Chile, Enrique Paris, met on Tuesday morning with the international press based in Santiago to report on the handling of the pandemic by the trans-Andean government. After consulting Clarion, noted that the Borders Committee must meet “today or tomorrow” to assess an opening of tourism for foreigners, where Argentina would be included.
“Argentine tourists used to come to Chile a lot. In fact, in the malls, some time ago, you saw more Argentines than Chileans. Obviously, Chileans are interested in us opening the borders so that tourists can enter ”, the Chilean leader began by pointing out on this issue.
“I know that today or tomorrow the border commission meets, where the Ministry of health, the Ministry of tourism, the Ministry of economy and advisers to the president are present to see this issue,” he said.
And then he stressed that “in any case, if we open the borders, we are going to demand the same vaccinations. No one will be able to enter without their two doses of vaccine or if a PCR is not done at least 72 hours before taking the plane. At the airport we do random tests to detect if, suddenly, we miss someone ”.
Chilean Health Minister Enrique Paris answers a question from Clarín. Photo: capture via José María del Pino
In Chile, it should be noted, a good part of the freedoms acquired due to the drop in cases (less than 500 a day 12 days ago and a positivity of 0.81%), is linked to obtaining the “Mobility Pass”, a QR code that guarantees that the carrier has completed his vaccination schedule.
On this point, Paris explained that “we have a technological system so that people can homologate the vaccine, there is a specialized website and who have had vaccinations somewhere else be recognized here and have the mobility pass. We want to open ourselves to tourism, but also to take care of Chileans, ”he said.
As an example of the opening measures that are being carried out, the Chilean health minister said that a cruise company, whose shipment was in Ushuaia, decided to change its operation to Punta Arenas, as the Chilean government developed a “health bubble” mechanism that allows passengers to come from all over the world to that city and go directly to the ship without putting the residents of the city at risk.
When referring to a tentative date for the opening of borders to tourism, the minister said that the decisions that the commission takes are being evaluated to be implemented “probably in October.”
The controversy with Argentina
First it was President Alberto Fernández and graphs of comparisons in the handling of the sanitary crisis between Chile and Argentina, then his chief of staff, Santiago Cafiero, who pointed out that Chile had only purchased 30,000 Pfizer vaccines; and even an index “quality of the vaccine versus population covered” developed by the state news agency Télam, positioning Argentina in the first place in South America.
The Minister of Health of Chile, Enrique Paris. Photo: dpa
All these events not only fell badly on the other side of the mountain range, but they always received back the force of the data.
However, Doctor Enrique Paris had kept silent in each of these controversies. Only to President Fernández had he responded briefly saying “I would prefer you to leave more prudent because you don’t know what might happen in the future ”.
A year later, being present in that future, the Chilean minister was again consulted. “When you criticize the handling, then you turn against it,” he began by explaining. And he told part of the backroom of these impasses between governments.
“I have spoken with Minister Vizzotti about this matter, and before with the previous minister. It’s not convenient that, in Latin America, or in the world, comparisons are made between one country and another ”.
Without wanting to delve into his feeling in the face of criticism, Paris took over the disparagement that you have received the Sinovac vaccine -Mainly used in the Chilean population- by Argentine authorities and official analysts.
“Some conversations (about vaccines), like in Argentina, fell apart. It is not logical to compare the quality of the vaccines, because all the vaccines that we are using have been approved by agencies. Any vaccine approved by the WHO it is a good vaccine“, Held.
And he added that “what we have said, several times, and that makes us very proud, is that we are, after Iceland, the country that has vaccinated the most by the total of its population with both doses and, together with Uruguay, we lead in Latin America ”.
The Chilean health authority concluded its references to the issue by saying that “we are brothers, as the song says, we are Americans and we are brothers, gentlemen. These disputes led to nothing and they always rebound against people or groups who seek to take an inappropriate profit ”.
Santiago, Chile, special for Clarín