Argentina starts new lockdown as cases soar

Argentina starts new lockdown as cases soar
# 22 May 2021 19:48 (UTC +04:00)

Argentina has begun a new nine-day lockdown amid a resurgence of coronavirus cases and a slow vaccine rollout, APA reports citing BBC.

President Alberto Fernández said the country was experiencing its worst moment of the pandemic.

It has recorded more than 35,000 new cases a day during the past week.

On Friday, Latin America and the Caribbean passed one million coronavirus deaths, almost 30% of the global total.

Nearly 90% of those fatalities have been recorded in five countries: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.

Argentina's new lockdown allows supermarkets and essential businesses to remain open, but in-person school lessons will be suspended. Restaurants can only operate home delivery and pick-up services, and people may only go out until 18:00, staying in the vicinity of their home.

The government encouraged people to alert the authorities if they noticed their neighbours gathering or having parties.

The restrictions are operating for a relatively short period amid concerns about the impact on the informal workforce and poorer households with limited internet access.

Argentina's economy contracted nearly 10% last year, partly due to the lockdown.

"I am aware that these restrictions create difficulties," said President Fernández. But he added: "Faced with this reality, there is no choice but to choose the preservation of life."