Argentina’s government will today announce an immediate national night-time curfew until the number of new Covid-19 infections decreases throughout the country.
President Alberto Fernández will release a video this evening confirming the measure, which is expected to be confirmed via decree in the Official Gazette in the coming hours.
The curfew, which will run from 11pm to 6am daily, is intended to reduce viral circulation of the novel coronavirus and ease the identification and shutting down of clandestine parties attended by young people, which experts believe is a key factor behind the recent surge in cases. The new restriction is likely to kick in tomorrow (Friday, January 8).
The decision was taken during a three-hour videoconference meeting yesterday attended by the president, Cabinet officials, provincial governors and Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, who is in isolation at home after testing positive for Covid-19. According to reports in local outlets, the national government wants to restrict movement in a "uniform" manner, though some regional governors (such as those in Chaco and La Pampa provinces) sought stricter measures.
In his video announcement, Fernández is expected to warn those circulating within the restricted hours that they will be arrested and reported to the justice system. Police are expected to be given the authority to impose fines and seize vehicles. It is unclear if exceptions to measure – such as the circulation of essential workers – will be announced.
Infections have picked up over the past week in Argentina, with a number of officials expressing concern over the rise. On Wednesday, the Health Ministry confirmed another high total of 13,441 new cases over the preceding 24 hours, with 191 fatalities.
Some officials, however, have said they hope the curfew will be effective enough to avoid Argentina entering another lengthy lockdown. Buenos Aires Province Deputy Health Minister Nicolás Kreplak said Wednesday that similar night-time curfews had "worked quite well in many countries." He said the introduction of a measure could prevent another period of "total confinement."