Amid fears over a rise in infections in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, President Alberto Fernández's doctor has recommended the Peronist leader limit his contact "as much as possible" and remain at the Olivos presidential residence.
In a statement released at midday on Wednesday, the president's personal physician, Dr. Federico Saavedra, said the leader should limit his activity and contact with other individuals under further notice.
The measure was taken as a result of "the progression in the number of positive cases registered in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area that shows a significant increase in viral circulation," said Saavedra, the head of the Presidential Medical Unit.
The president must "restrict interpersonal contact as much as possible" and take "care to mitigate the effects of Covid-19," the statement read.
The Presidential Medical Unit (UMP) was created in 2008, with a team of 18 doctors. During the administration of former President Mauricio Macri, it consisted of 11 cardiologists, four surgeons, two clinical doctors and a paediatrician. Dr Saavedra, who has been Fernández's personal doctor for more than a decade, was asked to head up the post upon the Peronist leader taking office.
Fernández, 61, has been active around the country, touring a number of factories and local municipalities, accompanied by delegations of public officials. He cancelled a trip to Rosario just a few days ago at the last minute, after Lomas de Zamaro's Peronist Mayor Martín Insaurralde tested positive for Covid-19.
To date, more than 34,000 cases of Covid-19 have been confirmed in Argentina. More than 10,000 of those have recovered, with 886 deaths recorded.
The number of infections is particularly high in and around the capital, with 88 percent of all cases in the Greater Buenos Aires area.
Dr Saavedra recommended that the president, effective immediately, maintain "preventive and obligatory social distancing," only attending "trips or face-to-face meetings considered of vital importance and [that] cannot be postponed or held with reduced delegations."
Saavedra, a respected physician and personal friend of the president, said in his letter that Fernández should stay at the Olivos presidential residence as much as possible.
Once news of the statement broke, conspiracy theories and rumours about the Peronist leader’s health began to spread online.
Fernández, however, says he is feeling fine.
In a WhatsApp exchange published by Infobae, the president said he did not have symptoms of Covid-19, saying he was feeling “perfect.”
The Peronist leader said he had been asked by his doctor not to travel in order to limit risks, saying it was related to the increase in cases in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area.
“That should be understood by people who have relaxed,” the president wrote. “There is an increase in cases, and you have to take care of yourself ... at home.”
He said there was an onus on officials to act “prudently,” citing the example set by City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, who recently met with María Eugenia Vidal, who tested positive for Covid-19 on Tuesday.
In recent days, several cases of Covid-19 have been reported among Argentina's political class – some of whom recently came into contact with the president.