The Government of Argentina said this Sunday that for now it is ruling out imposing a state of siege as a measure to guarantee compliance with the mandatory isolation of the entire population in the face of the coronavirus pandemic, but added that it is evaluating interrupting special international flights.
“There is no need for a state of siege today,” said Argentine President Alberto Fernández.
In an interview with the Telefé channel, Fernández appealed, however, that everyone comply with the mandatory isolation that has been in force since last Friday and until March 31.
The president assured that all the “adequate” and “on time” measures were taken to try to stop the rate of infections, which, since the first case confirmed on March 3, amounts to 225, with four people dead.
ASSISTANCE TO VULNERABLE SECTORS
70% of the virus cases are concentrated in Buenos Aires and its periphery, the latter with very vulnerable sectors of the population from the socioeconomic point of view.
Fernández anticipated that this Monday he will meet with all the mayors of the populous urban cordon that surrounds the capital to coordinate actions against the pandemic.
“We are organizing with the Army to distribute more food in all the neediest neighborhoods in Argentina,” said the president.
In fact, the Army participated today in a food distribution operation in the Buenos Aires town of Quilmes, on the southern outskirts of Buenos Aires.
Sources in the municipality of Quilmes told Efe that from the local government food was given to around 5,000 people, with the aim of reaching 20,000 families in the coming days.
The Government of the city of Buenos Aires announced today the creation of a program to help the elderly in isolation.
The program, called “Greater care”, will be launched through young volunteers who will help elderly people who live alone and do not have family members to help them bring food or medicine to their homes.
“This program is key at this stage for the care of the elderly and that it can be guaranteed that they can stay at home, with all the attention and care they deserve,” said the mayor of the capital, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, at a press conference. .
Of the total of 225 diagnosed by Covid-19, 167 are related to trips abroad, 34 are associated with transmission in a conglomerate locally (close contacts with an imported case or that have circulated in health centers or airports where people have been infected ) and 24 are under epidemiological study.
The Secretary of Access to Health, Carla Vizzotti, said today at a press conference that a “sentinel surveillance” work is being carried out to detect early an eventual community transmission of the virus, that is, infections from unrelated people with imported cases, its close contacts or a conglomerate.
Vizzotti said that this “sentinel surveillance” has started in the city of Buenos Aires “and no positives have been detected.”
Argentine Foreign Minister Felipe Solá assured this Sunday that the Government is evaluating the possibility of interrupting all special international flights.
“Argentina is going to close. We don’t know the date. The date is decided by the president, but Argentina is going to close,” Solá added in statements to Miter radio.
Such a measure would affect the special flights carried out by Aerolineas Argentinas and other international companies authorized to operate exceptionally, since there are currently no regular international flight operations in the country.
The flights arriving in Argentina are subjected to a rigorous sanitary control and Solá warned that “by bringing people, the virus is also brought.”
The air restrictions began on March 13 and were progressively expanded.
“More than 20,000 people left Argentina after the 12th of March I notified all Argentines that there was a pandemic. (…) Part of those Argentines are those who today demand that I bring them urgently” , Fernández regretted today.
This Sunday an Iberia flight to Madrid with 270 Spaniards left Buenos Aires, according to the Embassy of Spain in Argentina on its Twitter account.