World News

Chile finance, presidency ministers in quarantine after meeting with infected lawmakers

SANTIAGO (Reuters) - Two of Chile´s top Cabinet ministers said on Sunday they would quarantine after coming in close contact with Chilean lawmakers who tested positive for the coronavirus during negotiations in Congress.

Ignacio Briones, Chile´s finance minister, and Felipe Ward, secretary-general of the presidency, both said on Twitter they had tested negative for the coronavirus but would remain in quarantine until a second test confirmed they had not been infected.

At least 23 lawmakers will also begin a quarantine period after meeting with the infected legislators in Congress, the local daily El Mercurio reported.

“From home, we will continue working hard on the long list of issues that we must confront with urgency during this difficult time,” Briones said late on Sunday on Twitter.

Briones has been central in crafting a sweeping stimulus package worth nearly 7 percent of the South American nation´s gross domestic product. Ward is a close confidant of Chilean President Sebastian Pinera.

Chile, the world´s top copper producer, has reported 43,781 cases of the coronavirus and 450 deaths.

Health authorities on Friday put the capital, Santiago, a city of more than 6 million people, under full lockdown as new cases have flared with the approach of the Southern Hemisphere winter.

Reporting by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Peter Cooney