Friday, December 1, 2023

ARGENTINA | 20-07-2020 22:28

Argentina records more than 100 deaths in a day from Covid-19

Weekend pushes Monday's Covid-19 death toll up to its highest daily tally yet since pandemic began: 113 deaths.

The country registered 113 deaths from Covid-19 on Monday, the highest number of deaths in a single day since the start of the coronavirus pandemic.

It marked the first time Argentina had registered more 100 fatalities in a 24-hour period, though figures on the first day after a weekend have often been higher during the crisis, with some attributing higher tallies on a Monday to a delay in the collation of numbers. 

The previous record high was 75, recorded on July 6, which was also a Monday. 

The total death toll in Argentina from Covid-19 now stands at 2,373.

Officials said that 3,937 new cases had been recorded, pushing the total number of infections to date to 130,774.

The Health Ministry's daily update also said 55.6 percent of all intensive care beds for adults in the country are now occupied, with the figure rising to 65 percent in the AMBA region. In total, 853 individuals with Covid-19 are currently hospitalised in ICUs across the country.

Relaxation of rules

The numbers arrived on the first day of phased relaxation of lockdown rules in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA), which comes on the back of a two-week return to strict isolation. 

The capital and its populated periphery, where 14 million Argentines live, has recorded close to 90 percent of all cases of the country and has been under lockdown in some form for the last four months.

Despite the surge in cases in the region, especially in Buenos Aires Province, President Alberto Fernández announced last Friday that restrictions for those living in capital and its surroundings would be relaxed gradually over the coming weeks, with the first round of re-openings of neighbourhood shops and food and drink establishments in the capital beginning Monday. 

“From July 18 to August 2 we will try to return to normal life in this new world that requires different care,” said Fernández. “We are going to do it gradually and in the meantime we are going to continue working to strengthen the health system and the research we have to produce the critical supplies that are needed.”

Officials, however, have warned that a strict quarantine may be reimpose if the number of cases and fatalities continues to accelerate.

Pressure on the government has increased over the past few weeks, amid citizen fatigue, growing unrest from the opposition and protests from those who want to see the lockdown lifted. Many of Argentina's other provinces have already relaxed their lockdown rules, with social distancing measures maintained. 

The situation has been aggravated by Argentina's financial turmoil, with the government still seeking to restructure more than US$65 billion of foreign debt and reactivate an economy that has been in recession for two years, and has seen its industry brought to a practical standstill for the last four months.

President Fernández has repeatedly said that the move to introduce an early quarantine "saved lives," saying it narrowed the curve of contagion and gave the country time to prepare clinics and hospitals and improve health infrastructure.

Nevertheless, the lockdown has delivered significant economic hardships for many Argentines, around a third of whom live in property. The government has introduced a host of measures to support those who are struggling, with the state paying up to 50 percent on wages for private-sector workers, offering tax relief and loans, and enhancing existing social support payments.



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