The government on Friday extended existing measures to halt the spread of Covid-19 in Argentina until August 6, with officials fearing the arrival of the more contagious Delta variant of the novel coronavirus.
The decision was taken with Argentina now on the verge of 100,000 deaths from Covid-19. More than 4.6 million infections have been recorded in the country of 45 million inhabitants since March 2020, when the virus was first detected in Argentina.
"The Delta variant has been reported in 86 countries and is between 50 and 70 percent more contagious than the Alpha variant," said the government as it extended its previous decree of necessity and urgency (DNU).
Argentina's vaccination campaign has stepped up in recent weeks. The government has now taken delivery of more than 28 million doses of various vaccines produced by different laboratories. Around 24 million people have received their first dose, with just under five million having received two doses.
The government said it intends to keep Argentina's borders closed to tourism for now, but will expand the existing 600-person quota of Argentines and foreign residents who will be able to return to the country. Two weekly ferries from Uruguay will also be authorised, though only up to 50 percent capacity.
According to reports, the quota on travellers will be lifted week by week with the following limits:
- 5,200 places for the week from July 10 to July 16
- 6,300 places for the week from July 17 to July 23
- 7,000 places each week from July 24 to July 30 and July 31 to August 6.
Group trips for graduate students and tourist groups are still prohibited and social gatherings of more than 10 people are suspended.
On the other hand, almost all industrial, commercial and educational activities are now enabled in one form or another, while the opposition-controlled federal capital Buenos Aires City has also loosened restrictions.