The Health Ministry said Monday evening that five new cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus had been confirmed in Argentina, taking the number of total cases in the country to 17.
"Today five new cases of Covid-19 were confirmed, [involving individuals] with a history of travel to Europe," the ministry, headed by Ginés González García, said in a statement.
"They are residents of CABA [Ciudad Autónoma de Buenos Aires], San Luis [Province], Chaco [Province] (2) and Río Negro [Province]. To date, a total of seventeen (17) cases are registered Imported confirmed Covid-19, among which one (1) is deceased," it added.
Officials said the patients were in quarantine and "complying" with requests, the statement added, saying that Argentina "continues [to be] n the containment phase to detect suspicious cases early, ensure their isolation, provide adequate care to patients and implement the investigation, prevention and control measures aimed at reducing the risk of dissemination of infection in the population."
But in China, new cases have steadily declined in recent weeks, in a sign that the country's unprecedented lockdown measures appear to be working.
There were just 19 fresh cases reported on Tuesday, the lowest number since the government started tallying infections on January 21, according to the National Health Commission.
Officials in Argentina have called on anyone who travelled to the most affected countries of late to isolate themselves for 14 days, as well as not attend public places such as workplaces, parks, recreational areas and sporting arenas
Travel was restricted across Italy from Tuesday and public gatherings were forbidden throughout the country, as the government placed the whole peninsula on lockdown to fight the spread of the new coronavirus.
Marriages and funerals were banned for more than three weeks under the quarantine and bars and restaurants were told to close at 6pm, with the prime minister urging people to "stay at home".
The unprecedented measures, in place until April 3, were extended from several large areas of the north to Italy's entire population of more than 60 million in a decree signed Monday night.
Since the Covid-19 disease first emerged in China late last year, Italy has become Europe's hardest-hit country and has seen a rapid rise in cases to more than 9,000, with more than 400 deaths so far.
"All forms of gatherings in public places or sites open to the public" were banned, the decree said, while sporting events of all levels and disciplines were cancelled -- stopping play in the top-flight Serie A football league.