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News > Argentina

Argentina Extends Mandatory Lockdown Until April 26

  • Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez

    Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez | Photo: EFE

Published 14 April 2020

Argentina has been under the lockdown since March 20 and has reported 1,975 cases of COVID-19 and 82 deaths so far, according to the health ministry’s report.

Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez announced Friday that the mandatory lockdown imposed last month to curb the outbreak of the coronavirus will be extended until April 26.

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“We are extending the quarantine until April 26. We are going to continue doing the same in the bigger cities and large urban centers,” Fernandez told reporters.

The president said the objective of extending the lockdown was to contain the spread of infection and “ensure that the health system could respond to those who get infected and need medical attention.”

A new presidential decree will add workers from banks, along with auto-repair workshops as essential services, to the sectors excluded from the lockdown.

Fernandez said Saturday onwards, provincial governments could propose easing restrictions in villages and areas with no COVID-19 cases.

He said the regional administrations could also make such proposals for the areas not linked to high-risk zones after which the national government would analyze the lifting of the quarantine.

“In this second phase of quarantine, we are going to focus on areas and activities where the quarantine could be lifted in some way,” he said.

“Many governors have stated the situation of remote villages, very rural areas which have not registered infection cases and it does not make sense to keep them isolated,” he said.

Fernandez said the cases of communities that could continue to function without connecting with others and activities that they can resume need to be looked into.

The majority of the COVID-19 cases are concentrated in the large urban centers of the country, including the cities such as Buenos Aires and the densely populated near the capital – Cordoba, Rosario, Santa Fe, Mendoza, San Miguel de Tucuman and some of the localities of the Entre Rios province.

Allowing people with disabilities to go out accompanied was also under consideration, he said.

This is the second time that the government extended the mandatory social isolation amid increasing pressure from productive sectors and provincial governments to ease quarantine and allowing returning to activities.

For the last two years, Argentina’s economy has been facing a recession with high inflation and more than a third of its population impoverished.

Experts have warned that the impact of the pandemic would worsen the crisis.

“In the dilemma between the economy and people, I chose people. An economy without people is not the same,” Fernandez had earlier said, proposing his decision of extending the quarantine.

The president assured that the state would evaluate new measures of assistance for all sectors and monitor the hike in prices. “We will continue working so that no one lacks food.”

The president reiterated that the strict restrictions implemented across the South American country flattened the curve of infections since the first case in early March.

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