111-Year-Old Woman Beats Coronavirus In Chile

Story ByAna LacasaSub EditorJoseph GolderAgencyCentral European News

This 111-year-old Chilean woman has won her battle with coronavirus and become a symbol of hope for the other residents in the care home where she lives.

Juana Zuniga, also known as Juanita, was infected with COVID-19 at the Hogar Italian (Italian Home) care home where she lives in the commune of Nunoa, in the central Chilean region of Santiago.

The care home was hit by a coronavirus outbreak on 10th April and Juana was one of the 18 residents and seven staff members who tested positive for the disease.

CEN/Semana Gob Chile

She then spent 28 days self-isolating in her room and on 27th May National Service of Elderly People (Servicio Nacional del Adulto Mayor-Senama) confirmed that she had beaten the virus, becoming the oldest woman in the country to beat the disease.

She said: “Sometimes I am fine, sometimes I am bad, because of my age. In the past I worked, and they look after me well here.”

Juana had spent her whole life living with her sister but she moved to the care home after her sister died in January 2014 and she is now the oldest resident there.

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She is originally from the region of Valparaiso and is said to have previously run her own business.

Maria Paz Sordo, the director of the centre, said: “Juana Zunica is a chronic respiratory patient, but she is healthy in general terms. She tested positive, but she did not have symptoms.

“She only had some episodes of fever, which was positive for her health. We decided to change her room in order to keep her isolated and it was the most difficult part, taking her out from her normal environment.”

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Pablo Pizarro, who is in charge of the coronavirus strategy for Senama, told local media: “The density of residents was lowered at the centre during the coronavirus infection. Some of them were taken by relatives, others were relocated in other parts of the building so that the isolation was more effective.

“That is how Juanita was in the best conditions to face the disease and she managed to beat coronavirus after 28 days in isolation.”

Local media report Juana has become a symbol of hope for the other residents in the centre.

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According to the latest figures from the Johns Hopkins University, Chile has registered 82,289 cases of COVID-19 and 841 related deaths.

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Ana Lacasa

I am a senior writer and journalist and editor of the Spanish desk for the Central European News agency.

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