The number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Argentina has risen fivefold in just a month, reaching 5,337 on Monday, according to the latest data from the Health Ministry.
The increase coincides with the first confirmed arrival of the Omicron variant in the country. The strain is said to be contagious than its predecessors.
According to the official data from the Health Ministry, 27 deaths from Covid were also reported in the last 24 hours, compared to 14 deaths reported on 20 November, when there were 1,095 infections.
The number of Covid tests also increased 47 percent to 46,832 tests per day.
Confirmed cases were up 75.78 percent over the past week, authorities said on Monday morning.
Argentina's government has asked the population to be extra vigilant given fears over the arrival of the Omicron variant, which was first detected on December 5 in San Luis Province, after a fully vaccinated traveller who recently returned from South Africa tested positive for the new strain. Since then, at least four more cases of Omicron have been confirmed, according to an official report in mid-December, with no updated data on the progress of this variant having been released to date.
Meanwhile, the country's mass vaccination campaign continues, with 70.69 per cent (31.812 million) out of a population of 45 million people having received the full two-dose vaccination schedule and some two million people also receiving a booster to date.
However, some 6.5 million people have only received the first dose and the vaccination campaign aims to get them fully immunised as soon as possible.
According to the Health Ministry, Argentina has "the necessary stock of doses to start and complete the pending schemes and to vaccinate with additional and booster doses all the inhabitants of the national territory".
The government has announced that a new Covid health pass detailing vaccination status will be required, starting January 1, for all those aged over 13 who seek to attend indoor activities or mass events in open spaces.
Some jurisdictions anticipated the decision in view of the increase in the number of cases.
In Buenos Aires Province, home to almost 40 percent of the country's population, the pass will come into effect on Tuesday, December 21. Governor Axel Kicillof said a few days ago that the earlier date was a response "to the fact that cases have increased in the province by 33 percent in one week," he reported.
Since the beginning of the pandemic, Argentina has recorded almost 5.4 million cases of Covid-19 and 116,930 deaths. The occupancy in intensive care units currently stands at 34.9 percent nationwide.