Chile to issue virus-free certificates for recovered patients


Santiago (AFP)

Chile will issue certificates to people that have recovered from the coronavirus, which would allow them to move freely, the health minister said.

As of Thursday, Chile has seen 1,274 recover from the deadly virus.

"As of next week we'll issue a certificate. These people can be a great help to the community," said Jaime Manalich.

Chile has had almost 6,000 infections and 57 deaths from COVID-19.

Manalich expects a "slight increase" over the coming weeks.

People will be considered to have recovered from the virus if they suffered from COVID-19 but two weeks later tested negative.

"What interests us is saying that this person cannot contract the coronavirus again, because they are already immune, therefore that person can be of enormous help to communities, because they don't represent a risk," said Manalich.

The question of whether those who have contracted the virus are immune once recovered is still being studied elsewhere, including in Germany, which is planning a mass study with 100,000 people.

But even if the study is approved, initial readings might not be completely reliable.

Tests currently available can show false positives for coronavirus antibodies, as 90 percent of adults already have immunity against common, harmless viruses from the same family.

Chile has had a low number of deaths in relation to the number of infections, Manalich said.

The country has carried out a huge number of tests each day, with almost 8,000 on Wednesday and 70,000 since registering its first case on March 3.