SANTIAGO, Dec. 7 (Xinhua) -- Chile's capital Santiago will reimpose weekend lockdowns starting Thursday due to rising COVID-19 cases, the country's Health Minister Enrique Paris said Monday.
Under the new measure, non-essential businesses must close on weekends, only restaurants offering alfresco dining on terraces will be able to open, and interregional trips will be banned all week, according to Paris.
In the greater Santiago Metropolitan Region, there has been an 18-percent increase in new daily cases. "Given the number of inhabitants in the metropolitan region, this figure has a very high impact and concerns us a lot," Paris said at a press conference.
"If in the first wave, the average age of diagnosed sick patients was 54, the current average is just 39," he added.
The weekend lockdowns were a "preventive measure par excellence, and we hope it is transitory, aimed at avoiding much more extreme measures," he said.
Chile has so far registered 562,142 COVID-19 cases with 15,663 deaths. Enditem