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ARGENTINA | 12-11-2020 02:08

President Fernández in isolation after official tests positive for Covid-19

President Alberto Fernández goes into isolation after Strategic Affairs Secretary Gustavo Beliz tests positive for Covid-19. Number of government officials follow suit.

President Alberto Fernández went into isolation on Wednesday evening after Strategic Affairs Secretary Gustavo Béliz tested positive for Covid-19.

The Peronist leader had been in contact with the official in recent days and as a result, underwent a test for the virus himself. The result came back negative, the government confirmed in a statement.

Under guidelines introduced by his administration, Fernández will now remain in isolation at the Olivos presidential residence, he confirmed in a late-night tweet.

"I had a swab whose result was negative. Despite this, as we have been recommending, preventive isolation is important to interrupt infections," the president said in a post on the social network.

"I am fine, without symptoms of any kind. I thank you all for your concern," he added.

Béliz was infected with the coronavirus after seeing a relative, who reported symptoms on Sunday.

Fernández last saw Béliz on Monday in the north of the country, when both were present as Evo Morales crossed the Argentine-Bolivian border. The former Bolivian president was returning to his homeland after 11 months in exile in Buenos Aires.

After waving off the indigenous leader, Fernández and Béliz were seen hugging by reporters.

The news has reportedly led to a number of government officials undergoing tests and going into isolation, amid fears that the virus could spread among Cabinet members.

In addition to the president, the following officials have gone into isolation: Foreign Minister Felipe Solá; Interior Minister Eduardo ‘Wado’ de Pedro; Women, Gender & Diversity Minister Elizabeth Gómez Alcorta; Culture Minister Tristan Bauer; Secretary General to the Presidency Julio Vitobello; Communications Secretary Juan Pablo Biondi and lawmaker Eduardo Valdés.

All of the aforementioned are believed to have been present at a farewell dinner on Sunday night in Jujuy Province, held in honour of Morales and his former vice-president Alvaro García Linera. 

The former Bolivia president posted a photograph from the dinner, in which most attendees were pictured close together, without respecting social distancing rules nor using facemasks.

According to a government statement, Vitobello, Biondi and Valdés all tested negative for Covid-19, with the others awaiting results. 

This is the second scare Fernández has had with his officials – Social Development Minister Daniel Arroyo tested positive for the virus after having shared a flight with the Peronist leader days beforehand.

To date, Argentina has registered more than 1.27 million confirmed cases and more than 34,000 fatalities. 

 

– TIMES/AFP/NA

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