The Health Ministry confirmed 7,482 new confirmed cases of Covid-19 yesterday, lifting the total number of infections since the pandemic began to 235,677.
Officials also said that 160 fatalities had been registered over the last 24 hours, raising the death toll to 4,411.
The numbers top off another deadly week for Argentina. New records for infections and fatalities have been set on an almost daily basis, with Thursday’s tally of 7,513 new cases the highest since the pandemic began.
Since Monday, more than 33,000 individuals have tested positive for the novel coronavirus on Argentina.
The main focus of infection continues to be the nation’s capital and the 40 districts that surround it, known as the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA). More than 90 percent of all cases have been recorded in the region.
A record 5,200 of Friday’s cases were recorded in Buenos Aires Province alone, with 1,237 registered in Buenos aires City.
At press time, there was no updated information on the occupancy of intensive care beds across the country. On Thursday, 66.5 percent of beds were occupied in the AMBA region, though some professionals have warned the health system is close to reaching saturation.
Argentina exceeded 200,000 cases last Sunday, with a clear surge seen in coronavirus numbers since the end of June. At the beginning of July, the country had just over 67,000 confirmed infections.
On Monday, the government responded to the increase with a decree banning social gatherings nationwide until August 16.
Residents in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area have now spent more than 140 days under lockdown, though some businesses have been granted permission to re-start activity and re-open their doors. Children have also been granted permission to leave their homes for recreational outings, while residents are also allowed out for exercise, though with limitations on hours.
In most of Argentina's provinces, more flexible measures apply as few cases are registered, although there were growths in recent weeks in the provinces of Mendoza, Jujuy and Córdoba (center).
Ban on social gatherings
With the appearance of outbreaks in some districts, the national government government banned social gatherings across the country for 15 days from last Monday.
The move, first announced Sunday morning by Health Access Secretary Carla Vizzotti and confirmed early Monday morning via the publication of an emergency DNU decree, is the latest attempt to slow the spread of the virus in the country.
Vizzotti, speaking at the Health Ministry's daily press conference, said that the decision was based on the surge in confirmed cases over the last month and that experts had noted that circulation of the virus was increasing as a result of get-togethers.
"Until August 16 they will be suspended. [We will] restrict social gatherings throughout the national territory so that where there are outbreaks they can be controlled and where there are not we can minimise the possibility of having them," said the official.
The ban applies nationwide, even in areas of the country where the virus is not circulating in the community.
The ban applies to social, religious, sporting and recreational events in public or private spaces, all social or family events in closed homes and cinemas, theatres, clubs and cultural centres.
President Alberto Fernández hinted at the move last week, as he called on citizens to be responsible for their actions in the face of the pandemic.
"Social gatherings will be prohibited, and those who carry them out know that they may incur the criminal responsibility of transmitting a disease," he said.
"The big problem that we have had in the last 15 days is that we relaxed," said the Peronist leader last week. "We felt that it was contained, but it is not – it is far from being contained.”