The Alberto Fernández administration took aim at provincial governments on Tuesday after a data centre backed by the University of Oxford pulled the country off its Covid-19 virus tracker, citing unreliable official statistics.
Health Minister Ginés González García said in an interview Tuesday night that some provinces were misreporting test data, which he said served as an explanation for Argentina's "very high" positivity rate, which recently rose to 76 percent.
“The positives were put on and reported, but the negatives were not reported," González García told the pro-government C5N TV news channel on Tuesday night. "Today we start to fix it."
The explanation came after Our World in Data, based at the iconic British university, removed Argentina from its data set because “the official figures compiled by the government are not of sufficient quality to correctly reflect the scope of testing,” a staff member said.
“To ensure the quality and reliability of @OurWorldInData's Covid-19 testing data, we've decided to remove Argentina from our dataset for the time being. The official figures aggregated by the government are not of sufficient quality to correctly reflect the extent of testing,” the tracker’s Data Manager Edouard Mathieu said in a post in Twitter.
In its daily evening report on Tuesday, the Health Ministry said that it conducted 37,474 tests – nearly 10,000 more than on any previous day of testing. Even with a significantly higher amount of testing, Argentina still posted a 44 percent positivity rate over the past 24 hours, suggesting that the testing remains insufficient.
Argentina, with a population of around 45 million people, has so far registered more than a million cases of coronavirus and more than 27,000 deaths.