President Alberto Fernández says the government is analysing whether to order a mandatory quarantine throughout the country.
He also confirmed that health and education officials will make a decision Sunday as to whether suspend classes in primary and secondary schools, as well as across the entire education system, to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus.
The Frente de Todos leader told one radio station he was evaluating a "general quarantine, with people making a cut in their activities and staying at home."
He warned too that officials would be "inflexible" with those who broke regulations over self-isolation and quarantine, warning criminal proceedings would follow.
"We have to work a lot with the irresponsible ones, who instead of quarantining continue working because they feel good," said the president. "I warn them: we will be inflexible. Do not say we didn't wanr them."
He added that "people are not to blame for having travelled, but they should lock themselves in their homes and not put the health of the rest of the Argentines at risk."
"Everything we can do to restrict public meetings – go to the theatre, going to the cinema, welcome. We are looking at the possibility of making a cut at some point, so that people can stay at home and thus avoid the circulation of the virus. [To] take a series of days, during this period everyone stays at home. We are looking at that at the moment," Fernández told the Radio 10 station in an interview.
Then, in a later interview with Radio Mitre, he urged: "Let's stop Argentina for 10 days and stay in our houses and avoid circulation [of the virus]."
However, he admitted that "it must be borne in mind that all this has economic consequences," pointing out that Argentina has been in recession since mid-2018, with a noticeable increase in poverty and unemployment levels.
The president also said that "daily monitoring" was being carried out as officials discussed the possible suspension of classes for an undefined period. A meeting on the subject will take place at the Olivos presidential residence at 5pm today.
The Peronist leader said that the last specific meeting on the subject – which involved infectious disease experts – "all the scientists told us that it was not convenient to suspend classes."
The University of Buenos Aires (UBA), however, has postponed the start of its 2020 cycle until April 12, according to a statement published on Saturday night.
A total of 45 people have been infected with Covid-19, of whom two have died, according to the last official update from the authorities. Among those was the first infection registered in a child – a four-year-old boy in the northern province of Chaco, who was in close contact with adults who had the infection.