Chilean Health Minister Dr. Jaime Mañalich resigned Saturday amid criticism over his handling of the coronavirus pandemic (NYT). Mañalich has come under fire over the Chilean Health Ministry’s inconsistent methodology for reporting the spread of COVID-19 (Al Jazeera). Mañalich’s resignation coincides with Cipher, an investigative website, reporting that virus deaths could be much higher in Chile than the official number of 3,101 (Santiago Times). Chilean President Sebastián Piñera praised Mañalich, saying he was noble in his effort to protect Chileans’ health (Santiago Times).
Chile has one of the world’s highest per capita death rates as a result of the coronavirus (NYT). Dr. Álvaro Erazo, a former Chilean Health Minister, blamed the government’s ineffective communications strategy for the spike in cases (Guardian). In mid-April, Mañalich advocated for a return to normalcy that caused a spike in cases before a total lockdown was imposed on May 22 (NYT). Mañalich has been replaced by Dr. Enrique Paris, a former head of the Chilean College of Doctors (Al Jazeera).