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Chile: Ministry of Health Announces Issuance of COVID-19 Immunity Card, Easing Restrictions for Some

(Apr. 30, 2020) On April 9, 2020, Chile’s minister of health, Jaime Mañalich, announced the issuance of a document to those people who have recovered from COVID-19 as indicated by antibody testing, releasing them from quarantine and other restrictions. The “COVID Cards” will be issued to individuals who have recovered from the disease 14 days after they first showed symptoms or, if hospitalized, one week after their discharge from the hospital, according to the Argentinian news website Infobae. Issuance of the cards was scheduled to begin on April 20, 2020, after rapid tests that detect the new coronavirus antibodies had begun.

Minister Mañalich explained that the COVID Card is being issued on the assumption that people who have had the disease are immune and unable to transmit it to others, and therefore should not be restricted. Asymptomatic individuals who were exposed to the virus after being in contact with coronavirus patients—for example, some of the country’s health personnel—may also request the COVID Card, the Infobae report said.

The report noted that the COVID Card program has been controversial, because there are concerns about the possibility of a person being reinfected and in many countries testing on a large scale has not been reliable. However, the minister of health has stated that the data collected so far indicates COVID-19 immunity can last a long time.

An additional concern is the possibility of generating a black market for these passports.

Health authorities have stated that patients with compromised immune systems, such as cancer patients, will have to be symptom-free for 28 days in order to qualify for the COVID Card, according to Infobae. Health care workers will be evaluated every 15 days in order to requalify for the card.

In addition, the government announced the launch of a piece of software, the CoronApp, which allows people to access information related to the new coronavirus, communicate symptoms, or report to the authorities if someone breaks the quarantine rules.