SANTIAGO, May 20 (Xinhua) -- Chile will lift lockdowns in 13 towns on Monday and continue to gradually ease pandemic restrictions across the country despite detecting more than 7,600 new COVID-19 cases in one day, Health Minister Enrique Paris announced Thursday.
Among the towns currently under lockdown, three are located within the Metropolitan region, home to the capital Santiago. These localities will advance to phase 2, which means lockdown measures will be in force only on weekends, and restaurants and recreational centers will be able to operate from Monday to Friday, but not at full capacity.
Chile has registered 1,308,311 confirmed cases since March 2020. In the past 24 hours, 7,680 new cases were reported, the highest daily count since April 30, and 172 new deaths were reported.
"We are extremely concerned and we want to transmit that concern to society, because it is necessary to reverse this situation and take care of ourselves much more," Paris said.
"We must maintain a fair balance between legitimate and desired freedoms and our responsibilities, which oblige us to take care of ourselves and others. We cannot lower our guard," he added.