President Alberto Fernández on Saturday evening announced an extension of Argentina’s quarantine lockdown until Sunday, June 7, inclusive.
This new stage is focused in particular on controlling the spread of the virus in the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, with a surge in cases in the capital and in province, especially in poorer, overcrowded neighbourhoods. Many provinces throughout the country will continue to loosen their restrictions, given that as many as 19 provinces are not reporting new cases.
Nevertheless, authorities are concerned by the spread of the virus amid an increase in circulation of people on the streets and on public transport – hence why the government has moved to introduce a series of measures to tackle Covid-19.
President Fernández said Saturday that all permits and authorisation to circulate would be revoked, with all citizens having to re-apply for them – officials will only authorise and reissue permits for those that are classified as “essential” workers carrying out essential tasks.
Officials also said that checkpoints at the entry points to Buenos Aires City would be stepped up and intensified, with all those circulating having to register with the government's Cuidar digital mobile phone app, which produces a unique QR code for security and police officials to check. For residents in the City and Province of Buenos Aires, in total some five million permits to circulate have been issued – officials expect these numbers to drop considerably.
Officials are also hoping the number of people using transport will plummet. Last week, the number of citizens using public transport in and around the capital was around 24 percent of its normal levels and, crunching data from SUBE cards, on Thursday those levels were double the numbers seen in first week of quarantine.
That’s why officials are so keen to tighten the use of public transport, with the local and national government keen to lower numbers. Some additional restrictions are being trialled – for example, a new system for the Mitre trainline will see users having to reserve their spaces and seats in advance of their travel. If the trial is successful, that system will be rolled out to other lines.