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Covid-19 Updates: Argentina Declares Quarantine + More

  • View of a projection of the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, on the facade of a building, during the cacerolazo against the president this Thursday, in Sao Paulo

    View of a projection of the President of Brazil, Jair Bolsonaro, on the facade of a building, during the cacerolazo against the president this Thursday, in Sao Paulo | Photo: EFE

Published 19 March 2020

The latest Covid-19 news from the Global South and around the world on Thursday, March 19, 2020.


President Fernandez of Argentina declares preventive quarantine due to Coronavirus. Here is a summary of the statements made during his press conference: * We made a lot of efforts to make people understand (that social isolation is necessary)

* We take measures with companies, suspend classes and yet we had problems with people who do not understand that they have to stay home

* Decree of necessity and urgency: from midnight all people must submit to mandatory preventive social isolation until March 31

* Open local businesses (warehouses, pharmacies, etc.)

* Security forces will control who circulates through the streets, there will be penalties for those who cannot explain

* It is an exceptional measure for an exceptional moment, but within the rule of law

* Prevent the rate of infection from accelerating to avoid the collapse of the health system

* We need everyone to do their part

* There are exceptions for important activities (food production, pharmaceuticals, oil, journalists, etc.)

* Punishment will be very severe against those who do not respect the isolation

* A federal cabinet was confirmed to follow up on the pandemic and analyze economic and tax measures

* In the next few days, measures will be announced for the informal economy sector.

* We were lucky that the pandemic came later to the continent and that allowed us to prepare, but it is useless if the Argentines do not do their part

President of Argentina Alberto Fernandez

Bolsonaro's son clouds relations with China over COVID-19: Blaming China for deliberately hiding information about COVID-19. The invective, formulated by a son of President Jair Bolsonaro, federal deputy Eduardo, has outraged the Chinese government and has led the Brazilian vice president to put out the fire.

While the cases of infected and killed by the coronavirus increase in the South American giant -621 and 7, respectively- and the casseroles against the president increase in tone, the accusations of the young parliamentarian have enraged the Asian country, the largest trading partner of Brazil since 2009.

Update 5:30 AM:

More than 200 Argentines and Chileans trapped in Colombia by the coronavirus: Argentine and Chilean travelers are protesting at the El Dorado airport this Thursday in Bogotá (Colombia). More than 200 foreigners, between Argentines and Chileans, denounced this Thursday at Bogotá's El Dorado International Airport that they have been trapped for several days in the Colombian capital because their flights have been canceled due to the crisis by COVID-19.

Peru reports the first death in the country from the coronavirus: A 78-year-old man, who suffered from hypertension, became the first person to die of the coronavirus COVID-19 in Peru on Thursday, thirteen days after the first case of this pandemic was registered in the country.

The Ministry of Health reported that the deceased entered an air force hospital on Tuesday due to respiratory failure and that he died this Thursday at 15:00 local time (20:00 GMT).

"On behalf of all Peruvians, we express our heartfelt condolences to family members at this time of pain," the ministry said in the official statement shared on its Twitter

New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said he tested positive for coronavirus: Although the National Football League (NFL) has not started any type of competition for the 2020 season, it already has the first positive for the coronavirus COVID- 19 after confirming Sean Payton, the head coach of the New Orleans Saints, who is infected.

Payton, 56, said he did not feel well last Sunday, took the test on Monday and received the results Thursday afternoon.

"We want to help again in Spain", ask aid workers stuck in Ecuador: "We want to help again in Spain," ask a dozen young Spanish aid workers in Ecuador who are unable to return to their country due to the cancellation of their flights, after the Wednesday an Iberia aircraft was prevented from landing at the Guayaquil airport. The situation has created an international incident due to the reckless actions by the Mayor of Guayaquil, who impeded by blocking the runway, the landing of a flight that would take the aid workers home. 

Update: 2:20

New York Opens Mobile Laboratory for Coronavirus Testing

New York City opened its first mobile laboratory to undergo Covid-19 testing in the Staten Island District, bringing it to five such sites throughout the state.

It is a laboratory that is accessed with the vehicle requesting an appointment, as those that are already enabled in locations such as New Rochelle (Westchester) or Jones Beach (Long Island).

These laboratories, which are guarded by the Police and military forces, can take samples in just a few minutes and do hundreds of tests per day.


the U.S. and Canada to Close Their Common Border Next Weekend

The Staten Island laboratory is located in a health center's parking area. Since its opening at 7:00 in the morning, vehicles lined up near a sign reading, "Windows up at all times.​"

Democratic Governor Andrew Cuomo noted that 4,152 cases of COVID-19 have been detected across the state, 1,769 more than the previous day.

The biggest focus is in New York City, where there are 2,469 Covid-19 positive cases, followed by Westchester County, where there are 798.

Update: 11:00

Costa Rica begins closing borders and repatriating citizens

Even though tourism is one of its main economic activities, Costa Rica decided to close its borders to foreigners and began to repatriate its citizens on Thursday.

The closure will be in force until April 12 and could be prolonged if the Government so decides. Only Costa Ricans and foreigners with residence may enter; however, they must formally commit to 14 days in solitary confinement in their homes.

Migration Director Raquel Vargas said that sanitary orders for people to enter the country began to be delivered today.


Ecuador: Guayaquil Prevents Plane From Landing Due to COVID-19

The Foreign Affairs Ministry reported that it is carrying out actions to repatriate 347 Costa Ricans who are stranded in 13 countries, among which are Honduras, Peru, Italy, Israel, Morocco, China, Germany, and Argentina.

So far, Costa Rica has recorded 69 infections by COVID-19 and one 87-year-old patient died.

Other measures to contain the infection include the total closure of bars, casinos, discos, gyms, sports facilities, churches and the suspension of the school year.

US: Florida’s Hillsborough County Releases Minor Criminal Inmates

Hillsborough County Sheriff Chad Chronister Thursday announced that 164 minor, nonviolent criminal inmates will be released to reduce the risk of Covid-19 spreading in jails.

Chronister said that these prisoners do not pose a threat to society and that if they break the law they will be arrested again.

"These prisoners are at the lowest point of the public security risk scale and are simply in jail because they could not pay the bonds to be outside," he stressed.

So far, there have been no Covid-19 cases recorded in the county jails, which house some 2,700 people.

On Tuesday, Chronister announced another move that has made an impact in a county whose largest city, Tampa, has about 400,000 residents.

Until April 29, Hillsborough sheriffs will not execute eviction orders for people not paying rent or mortgage on their homes.

Florida, which records 328 Covid-19 cases and eight deaths, has more than 95,000 people incarcerated and another 115,000 with some form of community supervision.

Update: 8:00

Iran: the number of dead rises to 1,284 and the number of infected to 18,407

Deputy Health Minister Alireza Raisi Heal Thursday reported that 1,046 new Covid-19 cases and 149 deaths have been confirmed in the last 24 hours, bringing the total number of deaths to 1,284. The Persian nation currently has 18,407 people infected, some 6,000 of whom have been discharged.


Iran Temporarily Frees 85,000 Inmates As Pandemic Worsens

The Health Ministry has urged Iranians to stay at home and avoid unnecessary displacement; however, many citizens have taken advantage of the start of the Persian New Year holidays to travel.

Although the year 1399 will begin on March 19, the roads dawned jammed with vehicles that sought to leave for tourist sites. Authorities have deployed officials to monitor travelers' temperatures.

On Wednesday, Foreign Minister Mohamad Yavad Zarif acknowledged that his country faces "multiple historical challenges" and criticized the United States for its unilateral sanctions, which prevent Iran from carrying out banking transactions and buying medical supplies.

"Even amidst this pandemic, the U.S. government has completely refused to lift its illegal punishment, making it virtually impossible for us to buy medicine and medical equipment," Zarif stressed.

To alleviate the situation created by the United States, the World Health Organization (WHO) and other UN agencies have sent masks, sanitary suits, and diagnostic equipment.

China, Turkey, the United Arab Emirates, Germany, France, the United Kingdom, Japan, Qatar, and Russia have also sent humanitarian aid to Iran.

Mexico confirms its first patient killed by Covid-19.

On Wednesday night, the Health Ministry reported on the first death caused by Covid-19 in Mexico and indicated there are 118 confirmed cases and 314 suspects.

The 41-year-old dead patient was diabetic and had symptoms since March 9. According to information provided by his wife, he had attended a rock concert on March 3.

In a press conference called for Thursday, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador (AMLO) is expected to comment on the aid requested by Mexican expatriates who hope to return from some 30 countries and have been unable to do so due to the closure of borders.

He is also expected to speak about U.S. President Donald Trump's decision to prohibit non-essential crossings at the U.S.-Mexico border.

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