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ARGENTINA | 18-04-2020 09:10

Nationwide lockdown: Limited resumption of activities starting Monday

Government to allow select activities in provinces without ‘viral circulation,’ confirms Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero; BA Province Governor Kicillof tests negative for coronavirus.

The government will start to allow the resumption of limited activities in select provinces as from Monday (April 20), Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero said yesterday.

The official said that the social, preventive and compulsory isolation order put in place by President Alberto Fernández would remain in place until Sunday, April 26, but that the Casa Rosada would start to loosen regulations in areas where there is “no viral circulation” of the novel coronavirus.

“Starting Monday, activities will be resumed, in conjunction with the protocols defined by the Ministry of Health, in many Argentine provinces where there is no viral circulation, or where there are no cases of coronavirus,” said Cafiero.

On Thursday, the Health Ministry report said that the total number of confirmed Covid-19 cases had risen to 2,669, of which 124 have died.

The latest deaths were a 62-year-old man in Mendoza and a 64-year-old woman in La Rioja.

Of those infected 48.8 percent are women and 51.2 percent are men. Of those who were hospitalised with the infection, 666 have now been discharged from clinics and hospitals. Only two provinces, Formosa and Catamarca, are yet to register a confirmed case of the virus.

‘DIFFERENT REALITIES’

Speaking on TV Publica on Friday, the national official said the government had produced a “smart map” with information on the number of cases and the epidemiological situation in each province.

“There are different realities and we are attending to them. There are areas that are very crowded, such as the Conurbano, which have a different complexity than more remote areas, even within the Province of Buenos Aires,” said Cafiero.

He said the government would need to have “an intelligent look at sectors and activities that can be resumed” gradually amid the nationwide lockdown.

President Fernández has said previously that provincial governors could request permission to restart activity. Announcing the extension of the quarantine period last weekend, he said that Argentina would move towards the framework of an “administered quarantine.”

Focus also returned to the health of the country’s leaders this week, with Axel Kicillof in particular making the headlines.

The Buenos Aires Province Governor was notably absent from the government’s meeting with provincial leaders on Thursday at the Olivos presidential residence, with officials saying he did not want to make the trip after visiting healthcare professionals beforehand. He was subsequently tested for the coronavirus, but test results came back negative.

NEW RULES IN CITY

In the nation’s capital, new restrictions have been put in place, with officials briefing that the peak of the pandemic is expected to hit the city in June.

Earlier this week, the Buenos Aires City Government said that all citizens must wear face masks while circulating on public transport or in shops or offices, with Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larretta announcing fines of up to 80,000 pesos for those who do not comply.

Spurring controversy, the government also said Friday that citizens aged over 70 must carry a special permit when circulating around the city, which will be valid only for one day. Those seeking to leave their homes again will have to re-apply. Critics charged that the move was authoritarian and ageist.

Speaking to Radio Mitre on Friday, City Health Minister Fernán Quirós said the decision was “about how to care for the people most at risk.” He defended the measure, adding that “we are not going to fine them.”

To gain a permit, porteños over the age of 70 must call the 147 telephone line. Exemptions to leave the home are granted for the collection of pensions, medical treatments and vaccinations.

Close to half a million people aged over 70 live in Buenos Aires City, said Quirós, adding that 8 of every 10 deaths from the disease are elderly.

– TIMES/NA/PERFIL

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