Argentina’s latest coronavirus surge shows no sign of stopping: the Health Ministry on Wednesday confirmed that the country had surpassed 20,000 cases in 24 hours for the first time since July 13.
Scoring the highest tally in four months, when the country was gripped by the virus’ so-called “second wave,” 20,263 new infections were registered on Monday, December 27, along with 31 deaths. Excluding weekends (when numbers traditionally drop temporarily), cases have risen every day significantly since the start of the month.
The country’s ‘test-positive rate’ also continues to rise too, standing at 28.72 percent, well above the 10 percent threshold laid out by the World Health Organisation (WHO).
According to the Health Ministry, 880 people are hospitalised with coronavirus in intensive care units (ICUs) across the country, with bed occupancy in these wards standing at 34.4 percent nationwide, rising to 36.2 percent in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA).
Over the last 15 days, Covid cases have increased by 217 percent nationwide, according to official data.
The largest increases in infections have been registered in the nation’s capital, Buenos Aires City (4,005), and the provinces of Buenos Aires (6,199) and Córdoba (5,583), with the latter of high concern to officials.
Graciela Sadino, president of the Infectious Diseases Society of Cordoba, told NET TV on Monday that “more than 65 percent of new cases” registered in the region were “of the Omicron variant.”
“The explosive rise in cases is due to the new variant,” said Sadino. “The number of cases is increasing, but the number of hospitalisations is not rising at the same rate as the number of positive cases," she added.
The expert called on citizens and residents to ensure they are fully vaccinated and to sign up as soon as possible if they were awaiting a second dose.
Reacting to the latest data, the Health Ministry announced Monday that the application of booster jabs for health personnel and those aged over 60 would be trimmed, with the third shot now coming four months after the second dose.
Argentina has now recorded 5,480,305 confirmed cases of Covid-19 and 117,066 fatalities since the start of the pandemic, with 92,395 still suffering from the virus.