Argentina has set tight restrictions on trade and leisure operations as the South American country tries to prevent a new wave of coronavirus infections, the presidential office said on Thursday.
President Alberto Fernández urged the Argentine population to make a concerted effort to reduce their movements to try to reduce infections and relieve pressure on the health system.
“We are living the worst time since the pandemic started,” Fernandez said. More than 35,000 coronavirus infections were reported on Thursday for the third day in a row in Argentina.
“You know I travel around the country and you also know that I know the enormous difficulties we are going through,” the president said. “We have the highest number of cases and deaths.”
Officials said the move would be restricted to high-risk areas of the country until May 30.
All social, educational, religious and sporting activities would be suspended, the president said in a televised message from Casa Rosado, his official residence.
After May 31, pandemic measures would return to their current level from 8pm to 6am and social, recreational and commercial activities are banned indoors.
Shoppers line up outside a fruit shop in the Belgrano neighborhood of Buenos Aires © Sarah Pabst / Bloomberg
Fernandez pledged to intensify vaccination efforts in which more than 10 million doses have been administered, according to government data. Only 2m are completely vaccinated.
Argentina, with a population of over 45 million, has recorded 3.4 million cases, including 72,699 deaths.
However, the country will now be the sole host of the Copa America, a football tournament that will begin next month, after the governing regional body dismissed Colombia as co-host due to social unrest.
It would have been the first Copa América organized by two countries, but the street protests have picked up pace against Colombian President Iván Duque.
Earlier, Colombian authorities asked Conmebol, the regional football body, to postpone the tournament due to the pandemic.
The America’s Cup is scheduled to be played between June 13 and July 10. Colombian parties would move to locations in Argentina, CONMEBOL said.