Argentina's death toll from the Covid-19 coronavirus has risen to 26, after the death of two female doctors in Chaco and La Rioja provinces.
Sources in the Chaco provincial government confirmed to the Noticias Argentinas news agency that a 63-year-old woman had passed away at a clinic in Resistencia, the region's capital in the early hours of Tuesday morning – the fifth fatality from the virus registered at the province to date.
Local daily La Nación said that the victim was a doctor who had been hospitalised for at least 15 days. She had previously been in contact with two individuals who had also tested positive for Covid-19 – a fellow doctor and his daughter, who had previously travelled to Spain. The newspaper reported that the duo are considered "patient zeros" in province, who brought the infection back with them from overseas.
Sources also said that a 52-year-old female paediatrician had died at a private clinic in La Rioja Province, just hours after learning she had tested positive for Covid-19, lifting Argentina's total number of fatalities to 26.
The death was later confirmed by the provincial government, which said it was "accompanying the family and loved loves at this very painful time."
La Rioja Health Minister Juan Carlos Vergara said the woman had been hospitalised with severe pneumonia and that provincial officials were trying to track down everyone who had been in contact with her in recent days. The late doctor's family are in isolation.
Concerning news also emerged from Entre Ríos Province, where reports said a two-month-old baby was hospitalised at a hospital in Chaco after having been infected with Covid-19.
The baby is part of a family from Concordia, who were in Chaco at the time President Alberto Fernández ordered a nationwide lockdown. They have been unable to return home.
The Health Ministry also announced Tuesday that the government would provide 2,000 more intensive care beds and artificial respirators to the 8,444 available to the system in public and private establishments, in order to prepare for a likely surge of Covid-19 infections.
National health officials, meanwhile, told NA that half of the 966 total confirmed cases of Covid-19 were generated in an "indigenous" manner – i.e. not imported.