In a televised press conference, President Alberto Fernández on Friday announced the extension of Argentina’s general quarantine until Sunday, May 24.
Fernández said the country had managed to “successfully” contain the coronavirus pandemic, but stressed the crisis was far from over.
The president said he wanted "to normalise [everything] as soon as possible, but without putting people at risk."
Fernández decreed a 15-day period of compulsory social isolation on March 20 in response to the pandemic and has been extending it every two weeks.
Measures have been relaxed in some rural areas, but they remain strict in urban centres, especially the Greater Buenos Aires region, where a third of the country's population lives.
The president, speaking on the 50th day of “social, preventive and compulsory isolation,” said that Argentina would enter the newest phase of his “managed quarantine” period, which would see the "progressive reopening" of economic activity in the country, implying a greater level of flexibility in some provinces.
An emergency decree confirming the extension will be published in the Official Gazette imminently. Here are the seven key points, as briefed by government officials.
1. The period of preventive and mandatory social isolation is extended until Sunday, May 24, inclusive.
2. General prohibitions: No face-to-face school classes; no public or private events or gatherings (social, cultural, recreational, sports or religious); Shopping malls to remain closed; All cinemas, theatres, cultural centres, libraries, museums, restaurants, bars, gyms and clubs to remain shuttered; “interurban, inter-jurisdictional and international” transport of passengers; Tourist activities, parks and public squares.
3. Argentina’s borders will remain closed.
4. Those aged over 60, pregnant women and people in risk groups continue to be exempt from having to go to the workplace.
5. The following industrial activities are now approved to restart, but without staff using public transport: Manufacturing of automobiles and auto parts, tyres, motorcycles and bicycles; Electronics and appliances; Textiles, footwear and clothing; Tobacco products; Metallurgy, machinery and equipment; Graphics, printed products; Wood and furniture; Toys; Pharmaceutical companies; Chemical and petrochemical firms.
6. Provincial governors (with exception of Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area, AMBA) may decide which other activities restart, taking into account the criteria established by the National Health Ministry.
7. The Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area continues under isolation restrictions.