Argentina has begun a new nine-day blockade as cases of coronavirus have revived and vaccine deployment has been delayed.
President Alberto Fernandez said the country is experiencing the worst moments of a pandemic.
Over the past week, we have recorded more than 35,000 new cases per day.
On Friday, Latin America and the Caribbean passed one million coronavirus deaths, or nearly 30% of the world’s total.
Almost 90% of these deaths have been recorded in five countries: Brazil, Mexico, Colombia, Argentina and Peru.
Argentina’s new blockade will allow supermarkets and key businesses to continue operating, but disrupt face-to-face school lessons. The restaurant can only operate courier and pick-up services, and people can stay near their homes and only go out until 18:00.
The government advised people to warn the authorities if they noticed that their neighbors were gathering or having parties.
Regulations are being implemented in a relatively short period of time, with concerns about the impact on the informal workforce and poor households with restricted Internet access.
Argentina’s economy shrank by nearly 10% last year, partly due to the blockade.
“I know these restrictions create difficulties,” said President Fernandez. But he added, “In the face of this reality, we have no choice but to choose to protect our lives.”
Last year, from March to July, the country imposed one of the longest quarantines in the world. At times, exercise and even walking dogs were not allowed. The border was closed early and commercial flights to the country were banned for seven months.
Nevertheless, it saw a total of 3.4 million registered cases and 73,000 deaths. Earlier this week, the daily mortality rate set a new national record of 745, but the intensive care unit reached its highest occupancy since the pandemic began.
The president has promised financial support to the sector that has been hit by new regulations. He also stated that more than 5 million doses of AstraZeneca and Sputnik V vaccine were underway.
Over 10 million vaccines have been administered in a population of 45 million. In March, authorities postponed the deployment of a second dose so that more people could receive the first dose.
Bureaucratic problems and shortages of supplies are reportedly causing the slowdown.
Uruguay, which borders Brazil and Argentina, has also been hit hard by the recent wave of incidents, despite being highly praised for handling the first outbreak.
According to data from the Our World in Data project at Oxford University, the population is less than 3.5 million and Uruguay’s per capita deaths have been the highest in the world in recent weeks.