President Alberto Fernández announced on Friday, July 17, that coronavirus disease (COVID-19) restrictions will be eased, and a phased re-opening of activities will begin in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area as of Monday, July 20. Six phases of easing will take place between July 20 and August 3. The measures are liable to change and restrictions may be imposed at short notice.
As of July 20, local shops can re-open (excluding clothing and footwear). Restrictions will remain in place on what day citizens can leave their homes, depending on their national identity card numbers (those ending in even numbers leave on even days, odd numbers on odd days etc.) Food and drink establishments can also re-open, but only for takeaways. Furthermore, physical exercise will be allowed between 18:00 and 10:00 (local time). However, restrictions based on national identity card numbers will apply (as above); no more than two people are allowed together at any time, with a minimum distance of 2 m (6.5 ft); face masks are exempt only during running, not for cycling or walking.
From Tuesday, July 21, children will be allowed to socialize for a maximum of one hour per day between 10:00 and 18:00 on Tuesdays, Thursdays, Saturdays, and Sundays. Children will be allowed only within 500 metres of their homes, and all children over the age of six are to follow social distancing guidelines and wear face masks. Public squares and parks will also re-open temporarily for the purposes of exercise and to enable the use of playgrounds.
From Wednesday, July 22, local clothing and footwear shops can re-open. Places of worship can also open for administrative tasks, online celebrations, and individual prayer, but with capacity limits and social distancing measures in place.
From Saturday, July 25, people will be able to move houses but only on weekends.
From Monday, July 27, recreational outings for children will be allowed every day but still in the same timeframe and for the same duration. Art galleries can also re-open, but pre-booking will be essential.
From Wednesday, July 29, hairdressers and salons can re-open.
As of Monday, August, 3, local businesses in high footfall areas may re-open, including clothing and footwear stores. This does not include Liniers, Retiro and Constitución, and Calle Avellaneda and Once.
Schools nationwide will remain closed while mass gatherings, including shows, concerts, and sporting events, are prohibited.
A suspension of ticket sales for commercial flights remains in place until 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, special chartered repatriation flights have been allowed to continue operating.
As of July 20, authorities have confirmed 126,755 cases of COVID-19 in Argentina and 2260 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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