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News > Argentina

Argentina Suspends Surgeries in Buenos Aires Hospitals During G20

  • 'Baby Trump' welcomes the U.S. president in front of the Argentine Congress ahead of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. Nov. 29, 2018.

    'Baby Trump' welcomes the U.S. president in front of the Argentine Congress ahead of the G-20 summit in Buenos Aires. Nov. 29, 2018. | Photo: Twiiter / @edgardotlsur

Published 29 November 2018

Buenos Aires hospitals are expecting 'hypothesis conflict' as G20 leaders arrive in the Argentine capital and major protests are expected.

The Buenos Aires government has announced it’s preparing its medical centers for a ‘code red catastrophe’ in the Argentine capital in the runup to hosting another Group 20 (G20) summit Nov. 30 until Dec. 1, effectively taking over the management of 10 major state hospitals. 

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In a memo—‘Guidelines for the organization of the health system for the G20 summit’—issued by the Mauricio Macri-aligned Buenos Aires government, the city has declared that all hospitals be prepared for an undefined "conflict hypothesis" as officials there expect mass protests during the two-day economic meeting.

The heads of state from the United States, Chile, China, Mexico, Russia, South Africa, South Korea, Turkey, Saudi Arabia, and the United Kingdom, among the 19 members nations are arriving in Buenos Aires and Saudi Prince Mohammed bin Salman, accused of ordering the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi last month, arrived in earlier this week.

By order of Roberto Auger, director of Buenos Aires Ministry of Health hospitals, at least nine of the city’s public hospitals were put on ‘red alert’ since Nov. 26 and have been advised to leave beds free. All others hospitals and public health care facilities will go on ‘yellow alert’ from Thursday night until Monday.

Hospital managers who preferred to remain anonymous told Argentine newspaper Pagina 12 they had never heard of a ‘conflict hypothesis’ and were never before ordered to go on ‘code red.’

The memo requires state hospitals "to suspend scheduled surgeries that require post-operative care (and) make available beds in intensive care units." Hospital staff including surgeons, nurses, and neurosurgeons have been ordered on call. Emergency patients may be referred to smaller state medical centers.

Auger said in the directive that he’s ordering the measures "due to the presence of an imminent conflict hypothesis from November 29 to December 1.”

Demonstrations against the G20 meeting of major world powers and the International Monetary Fund, from which Macri recently solidified a US$56.3 billion loan, have been taking place all this week in Buenos Aires, and another major protest, organized by unions such as the Workers Confederation of Argentina, among others, is set for Friday, Nov. 30.

A counter-summit—The People's Summit—is underway in front of the National Congress, an area that the government will soon be limiting access to in order to protect visiting leaders.

On Thursday the massive 'baby Trump' balloon that first greeted the U.S. president in London last July, was already on display in front of Congress to welcome the same head of state.  

President Macri's domestic approval has fallen drastically over the past year due to his austerity measures, dollar sell-offs and IMF loan contracted the economy by six percent since 2017. In an October 2018 poll, 72 percent of the population thought the government was doing "bad" or "very bad" job in general.

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