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ARGENTINA | 01-04-2020 17:28

Government sets daily quota for repatriation of citizens, residents

Up to 500 people can return home each day under new rules issued via decree.

The government has established quotas for the “gradual” repatriation of citizens and residents seeking to return to Argentina from overseas.

The move comes as the Covid-19 coronavirus continues to spread in the country. As of Wednesday morning, 1,054 cases have been confirmed in the country, along with 28 fatalities.

Last week the government closed all of the nation’s borders until April 1, allowing very few exemptions for departing flights, pilots and healthcare professionals. 

On Wednesday, officials announced that they had began implementing the controlled opening of land, air, river and sea entry points effective immediately, but only for the international transit of Argentines and residents to complete their repatriation.

In a decree published in the Official Gazette, the Alberto Fernández administration said it would allow up to 500 people to return to Argentina each day. 

Those entering by car must complete a form in advance available from the National Transportation Regulation Commission (CNRT). Those entering via long-distance buses will be stopped at the border and provided with an alternative service, departing at 4pm daily, upon arrival at the borders, officials said. 

"We are going to generate an orderly and programmed opening of the borders," National Migration Director Florencia Carignano told Radio El Destape in an interview.

For this, "safe corridors were established at eight border crossings," where the health check-ups of passengers will be implemented, he added. 

"We are also ordering the aerial part and we are authorising certain flights. In principle, the Health Ministry wants to authorise flights from countries where there is no risk zone," said the official.

Argentina had arranged emergency flights to repatriate its citizens and residents who had remained abroad, but the flights were blocked last Saturday until March 31.

Local outlets estimate that between 10,000 and 15,000 individuals are seeking to return home to the country. 

"We are opening the borders in a gradual, orderly and safe way for the return of Argentines abroad," Interior Minister Eduardo 'Wado' de Pedro said in a post on his Twitter account.

"It is the way to care for the 44 million Argentines who are making a great effort with social isolation," he added, referring to the nationwide lockdown imposed by the government.

According to the restrictions imposed, only activities such as the production and sale of food, cleaning supplies, and medications are allowed, in addition to health and safety services, among other essential services.

Nobody can circulate in vehicles without special permission and citizens can only leave their homes to buy food or medicine to nearby places.

The government established emergency social subsidies, business loans and a 60-day ban on unjustified lay-offs, among other emergency measures.


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