Argentina’s coronavirus ‘third wave’ surge continued this week, with daily caseloads regularly rising above 110,000.
Nevertheless, Health Minister Carla Vizzotti underlined that there has been a “decrease” in infections compared to the previous week at a press conference on Thursday, despite the daily tally surpassing 129,000 cases.
Officials on Friday confirmed 118,171 new cases in 24 hours. To date, almost 7.7 million confirmed cases have been recorded since the start of the pandemic, with 118,969 fatalities, 161 of which were registered the previous day.
Speaking at a press conference, Vizzotti also confirmed that Argentina has signed a new contract with US laboratory Pfizer allowing for the purchase of 18.5 million doses against Covid-19. The news was announced just two days after Foreign Minister Santiago Cafiero with US Secretary of State Antony Blinken in Washington DC and almost immediately after ANMAT, Argentina’s drug regulator, authorised the use of the Pfizer shot for children aged between 5 and 11 years of age.
Vizzotti also recalled that previous contracts signed with the US laboratory accounted for "20 million doses to be received during 2021, which will also be received in January and February of this year."
"The total number of doses from the Pfizer laboratory is 38.6 million. So far we have received 15.3 million for adults, which is a different vaccine to the paediatric one," she explained.
"During 2022, our country will receive a total of 24.9 million doses from Pfizer to advance the Strategic Vaccination Plan," the Health Ministry later confirmed in a statement.
Commenting on the evolution of Covid-19 in Argentina, Vizzotti said that “from the epidemiological point of view, this is the first week in which we have a decrease compared to the previous three.”
She added: "For the first time, in addition to a slowdown, we also see a decrease, 18 percent less in the AMBA [Buenos Aires metropolitan area] and in the central [provinces], 31 percent," said Vizzotti, and specified that there have also been "fewer deaths with three times more cases" than in the previous wave.
"We are seeing an exponential increase in cases, not only in Argentina but in the world, due to the Omicron variant," the minister said, and described it as "good news from the epidemiological point of view" that this week there was a "decrease in the number of cases compared to the last three".