Buenos Aires province, Argentina’s largest and most populous region, has said it will offer citizens an incentive to isolate in government facilities: a daily cash stipend.
The province will pay citizens with mild cases of coronavirus 500 pesos per day (US$6.97) if they stay for 10 days in government facilities, Governor Axel Kicillof confirmed on Wednesday, announcing the launch of the 'Acompañar' programme.
He described the payment as "a subsidy for being uprooted and solidarity."
Authorities said they aim to cut the coronavirus transmission chain after becoming the epicentre of the pandemic in Argentina. The province reported 3,801 new cases on Wednesday, more than twice as many as in Buenos Aires City, and the largest number of deaths nationwide.
By comparison, the isolation pay-out represent a higher per-day value than that of the national emergency stipend of 10,000 pesos (US$139) per month. The poverty line for the greater Buenos Aires area was 14,178 pesos (US$197) in June, according to the national statistics agency.
“Some people may feel they’re giving up some things by isolating – doing groceries, taking care of the kids,” Kicillof said in the announcement. “The province understands that those who isolate are sacrificing something and aims to compensate with the subsidy.”
Kicillof said at a press conference that the region was "in a complex moment of the pandemic."
Speaking alongside national Health Minister Ginés González García, Kicillof said that the region had "more than 13,000 beds for patients with mild Covid-19."
After three weeks of allowing only essential activities in Greater Buenos Aires, the national government last week gave the green light for certain activities to resume and stores to reopen amid concern over the economy, which is expected to suffer its deepest-ever recession in 2020. At 125 days, the national lockdown marks one of the longest shelter-in-place measures worldwide.
The policy will apply to those who stay the full 10 days in the facility, and is only aimed at mild cases that don’t require hospitalisation, including patients without symptoms.
Argentina reported 5,782 new cases on Wednesday, marking a daily record, according to the government’s morning virus report. The country also posted 111 new deaths that day, adding to a total 2,617.