President Alberto Fernandez announced on Saturday, May 23, that a lockdown in Buenos Aires to limit the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) has been extended until Sunday, June 7. Although some restrictions were eased ahead of the previous lockdown extension on Friday, May 8, a steady increase in the number of COVID-19 cases in Buenos Aires in recent days has prompted the government to reintroduce some measures in the capital and its surrounding province. Travel restrictions in and around the city are to be tightened after being partially relaxed earlier in the month, with new circulation permits being introduced for vehicular movements and access to public transport restricted. The planned reopening of non-essential businesses in the capital has also been delayed until the next lockdown review on June 7. Under the lockdown measures, all individuals are required to remain at home unless going out to purchase basic goods. Banks, bakeries, supermarkets, mechanics, delivery services, pharmacies, public and private hospitals, and service stations, amongst others, are permitted to operate.
The announcement comes amid mounting concern over the increasing spread of COVID-19 in Buenos Aires, with 87 percent of new cases in Argentina over the last two weeks being identified in the capital and its suburbs. Many of the cases have emerged in the city's low-income residential areas, where crowded conditions and inadequate sanitation infrastructure leave communities more vulnerable to the disease.
COVID-19 restrictions in the rest of the country were eased with the expiration of Argentina's nationwide lockdown on May 10, allowing increased freedom of movement and the reopening of some non-essential business. However, the relaxation of specific measures is at the discretion of individual provincial governors.
A suspension on ticket sales for commercial flights remains in place until Tuesday, September 1. This includes ticket sales for all flights into and out of, as well as within, Argentina, preventing the booking of flights without approval from the National Civil Aviation Administration (ANAC). However, specially chartered repatriation flights have been allowed to continue operating.
As of Saturday, May 23, authorities have confirmed 11,353 cases of COVID-19 in Argentina and 445 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.
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