Argentina’s government has announced the introduction of a Covid-19 health pass for “mass events and indoor recreational activities” following a small but steady rise in coronavirus infections over the past weeks.
Under the new rules, all those aged over 13 will have to prove they have been fully vaccinated against Covid-19 (both doses) in order to attend activities that carry a "high epidemiological and health risk" due the concentration of people in a single place, the Health Ministry said Monday.
The health pass, which can be accessed via a government app, will serve as proof of vaccination for those seeking to attend events at nightclubs, party halls and indoor events. It will also be needed for those seeking to join large group trips or attend mass events with a capacity of more than 1,000 people, whether they are held inside or outside.
Similar passes have already been introduced by a number of regional governments recently, including the provinces of Buenos Aires, Tucumán, Salta and Jujuy. The policy will now be adopted mandatory nationwide, starting January 1.
In a statement, the government said the measure "represents a key tool to sustain the achievements of the current situation, reduce epidemiological risks and continue to provide protection against Covid-19 to more and more citizens."
Detailing how citizens and residents in Argentina can get a pass to accredit their vaccination status, the Health Ministry said people would have to update or install its Cuidar mobile phone application. Those who cannot access the application will have to seek a certificate of vaccination from their local authority, said officials.
Argentina, with a population of around 45 million, has seen a slight uptick in cases over the past few weeks, though infection rates remain low compared to last June, when more than 30,000 new cases were being reported each day.
Over the past seven days, the country has averaged 2,500 new infections and 16 deaths per day, according to an assessment based on official data carried out by the AFP news agency. Back in October, the rate was around 1,000 infections a day.
Since the start of the pandemic, Argentina has recorded more than 5.35 million infections and 116,771 deaths from Covid-19.
More than 31 million people have already received two doses of coronavirus vaccine, while another six million received the first dose but did not receive the second.