Chile reports more than 7,000 virus deaths under new counting method

Capital city Santiago now has the fourth-largest number of confirmed cases of any city in the world; pictured are health staff transferring a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 at San Jose Hospital in Santiago amid the novel coronavirus pandemic

Chile nearly doubled its coronavirus death toll Saturday to more than 7,000 under a new tallying method that includes probable fatalities from COVID-19.

The toll thus increased by 3,069, Rafael Araos of the heath ministry said as he revealed officially for the first time the new government counting methodology.

The revelation of this tallying method last week by CIPER, an investigative news organization, prompted the resignation of health minister Jaime Manalich.

Until now the death toll from confirmed coronavirus cases in the South American country was 4,075.

Infections have risen steadily in Chile even though it began taking emergency measures in February -- including widespread testing and the closure of borders and schools -- making it one of the first Latin American countries to do so.

The capital Santiago and its seven million people were placed under lockdown more than a month ago, followed recently by the cities of Valparaiso and Vina del Mar.

Infections have risen steadily in Chile though it began taking emergency measures in February; health staff transfer a patient with symptoms of COVID-19 at San Jose Hospital, in Santiago, on June 18, 2020