'We are in a critical moment': Argentina enters lockdown amid surge in COVID-19 cases

WION Web Team
Argentina Published: May 21, 2021, 05:47 PM(IST)

A health worker collects samples for coronavirus case detection testing inside a car, at the Costa Salguero convention center, in Buenos Aires Photograph:( AFP )

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Argentina's vaccination drive hasn't gone according to plan with just 4.7 per cent of the population inoculated so far and just over 18 per cent having received the first dose, according to reports.

Argentina President Alberto Fernandez announced the country will enter into a lockdown for nine days amid a surge in coronavirus cases.

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The country recorded 435 fatalities on Thursday over 35,000 new COVID-19 cases and nearly 500 fatalities per day for the last 7 days. The lockdown is set to begin on May 22 with only essential supply shops allowed to remain open.

"We must accept that we are in a critical moment," the Argentinian PM said, adding,"We must come together to overcome this catastrophe," PM Fernandez said, adding, "Social, economic, educational, religious and sports activities will be suspended in person."

Argentina's vaccination drive hasn't gone according to plan with just 4.7 per cent of the population inoculated so far and just over 18 per cent having received the first dose, according to reports.

"I am very aware, fully aware that these restrictions create difficulties. Faced with this reality, there is no choice but to choose the preservation of life," Fernandez said.

Argentina has reported over 3.45 million cases including 72,699 deaths since the pandemic last year.

Meanwhile, the coronavirus crisis continues to wreak havoc in neighbouring Brazil with a rising number of youngsters contracting the infection.

Brazil recorded over 82,000 COVID-19 cases in the past 24 hours over 2,400 deaths. The country has recorded over 15 million cases and over 444,000 deaths since the pandemic began last year. 

Amid the crisis, former health minister Eduardo Pazuello denied that Brazil's President Jair Bolsonaro has overturned his efforts to buy China's coronavirus vaccine made by China's Sinovac biotech.

The Sinovac vaccine reportedly accounted for five out of every six shots given last month in Brazil. 

A Senate committee is currently investigating the handling of the pandemic and the slow start of the inoculation drive.

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