Chile delays reopening until September as COVID-19 cases rise

Chilean health authorities announced that they will extend a COVID-19 emergency through September to allow the government to impose restrictions, a setback in a country that has one of the highest vaccination rates in the world. The announcement comes as cases have soared in Chile to some of their highest levels since the pandemic began, despite 61% of citizens receiving at least one vaccine dose and 48% being fully vaccinated.

Chile’s centre-left will govern in Santiago de Chile and most regions

Chile's centre-left became the great winner of second round regional elections held Sunday after winning most of the governorships, including that of the capital, with 99.9% of votes counted. The Constituent Unit pact between left and centre parties won in Santiago de Chile, where Christian Democrats candidate Claudio Orrego got 52.7% of votes. This is the first time in history Chile elects its intermediate authorities instead of appointing them via the government.

Chile extends economic aid to families to September

President Piñera approved a law to give families the economic aid to alleviate the impact of the pandemic until September. This will reach 100% of those registered in the Social Registry of Households (RSH) and will benefit 15.1 million people. A one-person household will be paid $177,000, a 3-person household will receive $400,000 and a 4-person household will get $500,000. This is from June to August. In September, beneficiaries will receive 50% of the amount.

Chile proposes a high seas MPA on the Salas and Gomez and Nazca ridges

With more than 41% of its waters already covered by marine protected areas (MPAs), Chile has proposed creating a high seas MPA on the Salas and Gomez and Nazca ridges. The idea was introduced by President Sebastián Piñera at the virtual climate summit held by US President Joe Biden in April. Piñera said “it’s not enough” to protect only national waters, especially considering the global call to protect 30 percent of the ocean by 2030.

Chile announces the launch of a mobility pass to allow interregional travel for vaccinated people

The president of Chile, Sebastián Piñera, announced the introduction of "a mobility pass" that would grant "greater freedom and mobility" to the people who completed the vaccination process against COVID-19 and will allow them to make interregional trips in communes in phase two. However, Piñera warned that these measured "must be accompanied by greater responsibility," and urged everyone to continue respecting measures to prevent the spread of the disease. The launch of the "mobility pass" is in line with plans to launch a "green" card and passport in Chile.

Independents set for victory in constitution vote

Chile's ruling center-right coalition has failed to secure control of the body that will rewrite the country's constitution, according to early results of a vote that has been called the most important in Chile since the fall of its military dictatorship in 1990. On Saturday and Sunday, Chileans cast ballots to elect 155 delegates who will be tasked with drafting the new constitution. With more than 90% of ballots counted, projections show that President Piñera's coalition, Chile Vamos, has secured just 21% of the votes, according to the electoral authority Servel. Independent candidates are expected to take more than 40% of the seats. Candidates aligned with left-wing parties received a third of the total vote. 

Chile plans to close half of coal-fired plants by 2025

Chile plans to close half of its coal-fired power plants by 2025, 15 years ahead of a deadline to eliminate the fossil fuel from its power mix, Energy Minister Juan Carlo Jobet stated. Under an initial agreement signed by the government and power companies in June 2019, 8 plants with 1,000 MW of installed capacity were due to close by 2024. 6 were taken offline by the end of last year. Since then, AES Gener, Enel and Engie have all brought forward commitments to close plants by that date, lifting the installed capacity to close by 2025 to almost 2,900 MW.

Chilean Government launches 30 mn tender for green hydrogen projects

The Chilean government has issued a call for tenders for the development of green hydrogen production projects of 10 MW and above. The government is offering to award up to $30 million to one or more projects, which should become operational no later than December 2025. The tender process is open to national and foreign companies. Prospective bidders have until July to make inquiries about the tender, while applications should be submitted by September.