Health Ministry officials confirmed a further 105 cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus in Argentina on Friday evening, lifting the total number of those infected in Argentina to 4,532.
Another five fatalities, four of which were women, were also confirmed. All were aged over 70. To date, there have been 225 fatalities from the virus.
Buenos Aires City and its surroundings continue to be the hardest-hit areas, with more than 1,600 infections registered in Buenos Aires Province alone.
Obligatory use of face masks
City government officials also confirmed Friday that the use of a barbijo, or face mask, will be obligatory on the streets of the capital and while in public spaces. Rules issued on April 15 originally said that their use was only mandatory on public transport and while in shops.
Fines of up to 80,000 pesos will be issued to those who violate the rules, City officials said, which kick in from midnight Sunday night. The #147 helpline will be available for individuals to denounce others who are not complying, they added.
The decision comes in the wake of a rise in cases in the nation’s capital, as more and more people are granted exemptions from the mandatory lockdown imposed by President Alberto Fernández and his government back in March.
According to reports, the City government is already working on the hypothesis that the already infamous "peak of the curve" of coronavirus infections could arrive in the nation's capital between the last week of May and the first week of June.
Health officials have speculated that there may have been an increase in how quickly the virus is spreading, following an increase in infections at nursing homes and among staff working at hospitals and clinics.
Infections in villas
The City’s Health Ministry also confirmed Thursday that 124 confirmed cases of the Covid-19 coronavirus have been recorded in the capital’s shantytowns.
The cases are distributed among several, though Villa 31 de Retiro and Villa 1-11-14 have been hit the hardest. The former has 57 confirmed cases, while the latter has 48.
Lower numbers have been reported in the capital's other shantytowns. Villa 15 has three cases, Villa 20 has two, Barrio Fatima has two, and Villa 21-24 has one.
There has also been one recorded case in Barrio Mitre in Saavedra, though government sources indicated that as of Thursday there were 10 more cases pending. No details have been published on these 10 additional cases at the time of writing.
The characteristics of informal housing settlements – such as overcrowding, lack of adequate ventilation, lack of hygiene and sanitation – facilitate the spread of the virus among residents. In addition, many houses in Güemes, San Martín Ferroviario, Comunicaciones, and Cristo Obrero lack running water.
Epidemiologists at the City Health Ministry are observing another 64 people from informal housing settlements who have come into close contact with individuals confirmed as having the virus.