COVID-19: Argentina closes schools, imposes curfew in Buenos Aires as cases spike

Buenos Aires: Argentina’s government will tighten pandemic restrictions in and around the capital Buenos Aires to rein in a sharp spike in COVID-19 cases, including shutting schools and imposing a curfew from 8pm to limit social activity.

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President Alberto Fernández, 62, given his all-clear earlier in the day after he was infected with the virus, said the South American country needed to “gain time” in the fight against COVID-19 after daily cases hit a record this week.

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“The virus is attacking us and is far from giving in,” the center-left leader said in a televised address.

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The measures will see schools closed in Greater Buenos Aires from Monday, and the suspension of indoor sports, recreational, religious and cultural activities until April 30.

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Argentina registered 25,157 new cases of COVID-19 on Wednesday, after hitting a record 27,001 cases on Tuesday. The country has seen a total 2.6 million people infected, with 58,542 deaths.

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Rising poverty

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Fernandez’s Peronist government had been keen to avoid a blanket lockdown to protect a fragile economic recovery and with poverty rates rising, but has been forced to toughen restrictions by the recent sharp rise in cases.

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This week the governor of Buenos Aires province said Argentina was facing “a tsunami” of cases. The opposition mayor of Buenos Aires city has, however, opposed school closures.

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In some neighbourhoods of the city, citizens honked car horns and banged on pans to express their disagreement with the measures, local television footage showed.

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