SANTIAGO, Dec. 23 (Xinhua) -- The first 10,000 doses of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine against the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) disease will arrive in Chile on Thursday to immunize healthcare staff working in intensive care units (ICUs), Health Minister Enrique Paris said Wednesday.
"This is great news for the country. We are one of the first countries in the world to start vaccination. That fills us with pride," Paris said at a press conference.
Paris stressed, however, the need to continue preventive measures because the pandemic is not over.
"We must maintain self-care measures for a long period: use of a face mask, washing hands with soap and water, physical distancing, among others," Paris said.
Chilean President Sebastian Pinera told journalists the plane with the vaccines would arrive around 7 a.m. local time (1000 GMT), adding "we are ready and prepared to start a vaccination process."
Chile reported 1,726 new daily cases of COVID-19 infection Wednesday for a total caseload of 590,914, and 11 more single-day deaths, raising the death toll to 16,228.