Chilean salmon producer AquaChile is handing over its molecular biology laboratory in Puerto Montt, Chile, to health authorities for it to be used as a coronavirus test center.

The company hopes its "Alab" laboratory will become a key facility in the fight to control the spread of the disease in Puerto Montt, Chiloe Island and other areas of southern Chile.

The company will refit its lab and set up new protocols to allow testing to begin next Monday, said Alexis Martínez, Alab manager.

Chile has reported four deaths among 1,306 cases. Globally the death toll has risen above 23,500 from 521,000 cases across the world.

With pressure mounting for a total lockdown across the country to stem the spread of the disease, the government has ordered people to stay at home in seven areas around the capital: Santiago Lo Barnechea, Vitacura, Providencia, Las Condes, Nunoa, Santiago and Independencia, La Tercera reported.

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