A brief update from Chile:
Some have been wondering about and asking about how things are in Chile with regards to the Coronavirus.
I preface all my comments saying that I am not a medical expert, just a regular person trying to do the best I can.
Coronavirus is in Chile. As I write there are over 150 confirmed cases. No one knows how many more may be present but not confirmed. All told, that is a much lower number than in many countries. Chile has taken a number of steps such as cancelling all schools for 14 days, closing all borders, and prohibiting meetings of more than 50 people (that number started at 500 and keeps getting lower). More recently, the president declared a 90-day state of emergency, allowing him to deploy military, freeze prices, restrict movement, impose curfews, and so forth. He has not elaborated on exactly what measures will be taken except that the military will be used at border crossings and to protect infrastructure.
As some of you may recall, back in October of last year, Chile experienced severe civil unrest with protests, clashes with police, riots, looting, and vandalism. Some supermarkets were burned to the ground. Most subway (metro) stations were damaged, some quite badly. Public buses were also a frequent target. In the following months, and up to the present, there are problems several nights a week. Just last week, while driving home I drove up on a flaming barricade on the route that I usually take because I was later than usual (about 11PM). Another day recently as I was going to the pharmacy, I saw police clashing with a group of students, while a block away (I later learned) a group attacked the municipal building, trapping the public inside. Given that things are so volatile here, the president’s actions are probably necessary to protect critical infrastructure and supply lines.
Our church met last Sunday as usual (but with more hand sanitizer and disinfectant sprays) with good attendance and one baptism! We did that because there were only a dozen confirmed cases in Chile at that time and none in our area. We will be evaluating future church services and my classes as we see how things develop and it is likely that we will have to suspend in-person meetings. I am currently experimenting with options like Zoom, Facebook live, Youtube live, Vimeo, etc. to figure out the best (and hopefully free) way to conduct classes and other meetings.
We are seeking to be wise in our conduct and to respect the requests of public health officials to help limit the spread of this virus, while we pray that God will help us to continue to shine His light in the darkness.