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ARGENTINA | 06-04-2021 22:50

Government prepares new restrictions as Covid-19 second wave hits Argentina

Government finalising new decree introducing more restrictions to tackle Covid-19 second wave, as Argentina registers record daily high of more than 20,000 confirmed cases.

The Alberto Fernández administration is finalising the details of a new emergency decree that will introduce “more controls and restrictions” in Argentina to tackle a Covid-19 second wave that has already arrived in the country.

According to sources inside the Casa Rosada, the decree will likely be published Wednesday afternoon, with officials “polishing some things.”

Government officials told the Noticias Argentinas news agency that “there is consensus" among the national, provincial and City governments over the “application of restrictions.” 

"There is no opposition to the restrictions, we must close," said the source.

There are differences, however, with the Buenos Aires City government led by Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta on the issue of night time restrictions.

City Hall sources told NA that they do not agree with a proposed 10pm-6am curfew for businesses, bars and restaurants, though they would be open to shorter shutdown at night.

"It does not make sense to prevent people from circulating, it’s restricting individual freedoms," said the source, speaking after a meeting headed by Rodríguez Larreta and his Cabinet.

Casa Rosada officials said that governors were in agreement that “more controls, more restrictions and more acceleration in the vaccination campaign” were the immediate priorities. 

According to reports, social gatherings on private places may be further restricted, along with a total suspension on all events in rooms of cclosed spaces. Indoor sports will be suspended, while public transport would be prioritised for essential workers, teachers and students, indicating that schools will remain open. Some local outlets said public transport may be limited to just those groups entirely. A limit of 30 percent capacity will be introduced for restaurants and bars during their opening hours.

The Buenos Aires Province government briefed reporters late Tuesday night that they would move to introduce an immediate 10pm-6am curfew to stop infections, given the latest surge in Covid-19 numbers. Sources in La Plata told Perfil that “there was no more margin” for error.

Governor Axel Kicillof's administration will also limit social gatherings, though municipal districts will be given discretion to apply measures as necessary. Some parts of the region, such as Olavarría, are already saturated by cases. The provinces of Mendoza and Catamarca will also tighten restrictions. 

Earlier in the day, the National Health Ministry announced a record daily high of more than 20,870 infections in just a day. The government also confirmed 163 new deaths, lifting the overall death toll to 56,643.

A total of 2,428,029 people have now been infected since the beginning of the pandemic. Of those, more than 2.1 million have recovered, with 207,350 cases still active.

Argentina applied a strict lockdown lasting several months last year, suffering a devastating economic collapse of a 9.9 percent contraction in GDP yet managing to avoid a collapse of the health system. After practically an entire school year without face-to-face classes, educational institutions reopened in March. Commercial and productive activities resumed months ago.

The opposition Juntos por el Cambio coalition issued a statement Tuesday night in which they criticised the "excessive and poorly calibrated restrictions" the government has imposed to tackle the Covid-19 pandemic. The statement was signed by Rodríguez Larreta, former president Mauricio Macri, PRO party leader Patricia Bullrich, ex-Buenos Aires Province governor María Eugenia Vidal and a host of Radical leaders. 



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