The number of confirmed Covid-19 coronavirus cases rose by a record high of 31 on Thursday, as President Alberto Fernández ordered a compulsory nationwide lockdown until March 31.
There are now 128 people who have been infected with the new coronavirus in Argentina, of which three have died, according to data from the Health Ministry.
Of the new surge in caseloads, 15 are from Buenos Aires Province, eight are from Buenos Aires City, three are from Córdoba, two are from Chaco and
Tucumán, Santa Fe and Río Negro have one each.
Officials said 20 correspond to people with a history of travel to risk areas, while five were a result of coming into close contact with other confirmed cases. Six cases remain under investigation.
Starting Friday, citizens in Argentina are only permitted to leave their homes for essential services such as trips to supermarkets and pharmacies. The lockdown, which begins midnight tonight, will be enforced by security forces. It lasts until March 31. Warehouses, supermarkets, hardware stores and pharmacies can remain open, but the Gendarmerie and the Police will monitor the streets.
“We’ll be absolutely inflexible in the enforcement,” the Peronist leader declared. “This is an exceptional measure in an exceptional time, within the framework of what democracy allows.”
The president has implemented ever-tougher restrictions in recent days to contain the outbreak. The government had already shut borders, cancelled almost all flights with the exception of repatriations, closed schools and mandated a 14-day quarantine for anyone experiencing coronavirus symptoms or traveling from virus hotspots.
Globally, more than 240,000 have been infected by the coronavirus, with more than 10,000 having died.