Thirty-eight percent of individuals who have recently entered Argentina are failing to comply with mandatory Covid-19 quarantine restrictions, random spot checks conducted by the National Directorate of Migration (DNM) have revealed.
Over the past week, 747 inspections of residences registered by arrivals were carried out by security officers, said migration officials. Of those, a total of 287 individuals were failing to comply with mandatory isolation rules, just over 38 percent,
“It cannot be that some do not understand that everything that is at stake here. We need to delay the entry of [new Covid-19] variants as much as possible to continue advancing with vaccination and to move away from winter, which in itself tends to have an increase in complex respiratory conditions as a result of seasonal diseases,” said National Migration Director Florencia Carignano.
The spot-check inspections, which were carried out without prior warning, took place in Buenos Aires City and the provinces of Buenos Aires, Santa Fe, Chubut, Mendoza, La Rioja, Corrientes, Jujuy and Salta.
"We need to take care of the effort that people are making. The entry of new, more contagious and virulent variants can jeopardise the re-opening of activities that we have achieved with so much sacrifice and put the health system under strain once again," Carignano warned.
Last week, migration officials announced they would tighten controls to prevent the spread of more infectious strains of Covid-19, such as the new ‘Delta’ and ‘South African’ variants.
According to the most recent government decree, all passengers returning from overseas (only citizens and resident foreigners are allowed entry, bar a a few exemptions) are obliged to present a negative PCR test result in order to board a flight to Argentina, as well as perform another test upon arrival.
If they test positive, individuals must then stay in a government-approved hotel until their Covid-19 variant is identified. If their strain is already circulating in the country, the person is authorised to finish their mandatory quarantine period at home. If the strain is not widely in circulation, they must complete their term at the hotel.
In addition, rules from the Health Ministry require all those who return from abroad to spend a week in isolation and undergo a PCR test in order to regain their freedom.
The Interior Ministry said Monday that it was the responsibility of provincial and regional governments to guarantee that preventative isolation rules were being observed.
"It is vital to comply with these measures," said Carignano.
The National Migration Directorate, a body within the Interior Ministry, said Monday that 287 individuals who had failed to comply with mandatory quarantine measures upon entering the country could be "criminally denounced" before the authorities.
Not complying with restrictions "is a federal crime and those who return from abroad must understand the responsibility and risk that is implied for the rest if they do not fulfill protocols," said Carignano, who warned that offenders could face between three and five years behind bars if found guilty.
At least 274 individuals have been charged with breaching Articles 205 and 239 of the Penal Code, added the official.