Record Virus Surge Wallops Support for Chile’s Covid Policy

A record virus surge is eroding support for the Chilean government’s Covid-19 policies and tarnishing one of the world’s fastest vaccination drives, according to a survey.

Thirty-eight percent of Chileans back President Sebastian Pinera’s response to the coronavirus, down from 58% on Feb. 26, according to a Cadem poll published on Monday. Meanwhile, 85% of respondents say it will take over six months for daily life to return to normal, with open schools and stores.

Record Virus Surge Wallops Support for Chile’s Covid Policy

Pinera’s administration is grappling with a resurgence of the virus that’s driven hospitalizations and daily infections to all-time highs. Critics say Chile shouldn’t have encouraged travel during the Southern Hemisphere summer, and that the economy was re-opened too quickly.

“Nothing will move me away from my only objective, which is to fight for the health of my fellow countrymen and against the pandemic, even if it brings criticism and attacks,” Health Minister Enrique Paris told reporters on Monday.

The Health Ministry is sticking to plans to vaccinate its target population against Covid by mid-year. Over 36% of the population has already received at least one shot, according to the Bloomberg Vaccine Tracker.

Chile’s government never underestimated the pandemic, Pinera told reporters at a separate event on Monday. “Have we made mistakes? Yes, of course we have, but we have also tried to fix those mistakes.”

The Cadem poll surveyed 702 people between March 30 and April 1. It has a margin of error of plus or minus 3.7 percentage points.

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