Chile confirmed the first case of the Delta variant of the virus that causes COVID-19 in the country on Thursday, after analyzing the test results from a Chilean patient who came from the United States, authorities said.
"We have officially confirmed the presence of a patient with the Delta variant, who came from the United States and entered through the Santiago airport," Chilean Minister of Health Enrique Paris said during a speech before the Chamber of Deputies.
The 43-year-old woman has been in quarantine since her arrival in the country, and the Delta variant "is much more contagious than others we have had so far," Paris explained.
The Chilean Congress will vote Thursday on a request to extend the constitutional state of exception for another 90 days, starting on June 30, which allows the regulation of people's liberties, including a night curfew currently in effect.
The detection of the Delta variant in the South American country came amid high levels of COVID-19 infections and hospital demand, despite the progress of mass vaccination against the virus, according to specialists.
Chile had accumulated 1,531,872 COVID-19 cases and 31,797 deaths as of Thursday.