Residents in Buenos Aires and its surroundings could face another six to ten weeks under lockdown, according to one City government official.
Felipe Miguel, Cabinet Chief in Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta’s government, said in an interview with Radio La Red on Thursday that the quarantine period “could be prolonged for six and ten weeks from now,” implying the lockdown could last until the end of July or beginning of August.
"The Buenos Aires [City government] Health Minister, Fernán Quirós, spoke of a period of isolation for the City lasting from here to between six to ten weeks," Miguel told journalist Luis Novaresio.
"It is the best [projection] we can put together based on the data we have, and other cities and other countries. That curve could extend between six and ten weeks," he said. "That does not necessarily mean that there has to be a quarantine that lasts that long."
While calls for an end of the coronavirus-led shutdown are growing – the City witnessed its first protest this week and sectors of the opposition are voicing dissent – officials in both the Buenos Aires City and Province governments say they are sure quarantine is the correct approach.
Officials were consulting the numbers “day by day” to see what sectors of the economy could be re-opened, Miguel added, though he stressed that the length of the lockdown remained at the discretion of the national government.
“That is the best projection that we have at this moment,” said Miguel, who said more businesses and workplaces could be allowed to reopen. Officials were consulting the numbers “day by day,” he added, stressing that the length of the lockdown remained at the discretion of the national government.
Miguel highlighted the strengthening of the City’s health system that has taken place in recent weeks, saying there had been an increase in the number of healthcare professionals working. More respirators, intensive care beds and temporary accommodation were available, he added.
The Cabinet chief warned though that cases were still increasing and said it wasn’t time to loosen restrictions.
"Cases of contagion are increasing at a current average of 400 per day, which the health system can sustain and attend to accordingly – in addition to being prepared for more – but 15 days ago they were an average of 80 daily cases, it’s multiplied by five," clarified the official, who has worked with the City mayor since 2011.
"What we cannot do is stop the virus, but we can, individually, comply with the measures and recommendations to reduce the rate of increases of cases and, with the State, strengthen the health system.”
Miguel warned against the loosening restrictions in the City, saying it was "not a good solution because the virus is circulating in all of Buenos Aires' neighbourhoods."
“Throughout the quarantine there are different stages. When the curve begins to descend, different activities will open up,” he concluded.