President Alberto Fernández has expressed “concern” over a new surge of Covid-19 cases in Argentina and called on citizens, especially young people, to observe preventative measures against the virus.
Fernández was echoing recent sentiments expressed by regional administrations, especially the Buenos Aires Province government, which has seen holiday-goers swamp beaches on the coast in large numbers. Many officials have expressed anger at reports of police breaking up clandestine parties and images of large crowds.
Vaccination against Covid-19 began in Argentina last week, but restrictions designed to control the spread of the virus remain in place.
"The vaccine will give us, as the months go by, immunity, but in the meantime, we cannot play with fire, because the virus is circulating," the Peronist leader said during an event in the town of Chapadmalal.
According to state news agency Télam, the president called on the nation’s youth to assume “individual responsibility," warning that "the pandemic continues to plague the homeland."
"People aren't being careful. I know that for many, going to a dance is nice, playing football is nice, everything is nice, unless there is a virus around. I want to call on everyone to think; the pandemic is not over," he said.
Speaking at a later event at the Olivos presidential residence on the outskirts of the capital, the president again reiterated his concerns, calling on "all Argentines and especially the youngest" to "understand that they are vectors of transmission for the contagion" of the coronavirus.
"I appeal once again to the social responsibility of everyone because the problem persists, it remains and no-one is exempt from being infected," said the president.
Argentina saw a marked decline in the number of confirmed cases since October, but in recent weeks numbers have again risen to five-digits. Between December 31 and January 2, the country registered 20,906 new infections and 212 deaths.
To date, more than 1.63 million cases have been recorded by the authorities, with 43,375 fatalities.