Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Argentina extends nationwide quarantine, with revisions, through May 10. Conditional easing of restrictions outside large urban centers.

This alert affects Argentina

This alert began 26 Apr 2020 15:45 GMT and is scheduled to expire 10 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 10
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, mandatory quarantine, increased security

Summary
President Alberto Fernandez announced the extension of Argentina's nationwide quarantine, with revisions, through at least May 10. The measures, which were initially slated to end April 26, are to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). The quarantine will continue to be strictly enforced in cities with more than 500,000 inhabitants, such as Buenos Aires, Cordoba, Mar del Plata, Mendoza, Resistencia, Rosario, and Santa Fe. Local authorities in cities and towns with less than 500,000 inhabitants will be allowed some flexibility, provided they meet certain necessary conditions relating to public health capacity and the dynamics of the spread of COVID-19.

Existing restrictions and other preventative measures that will remain in effect in Argentina include:

  • Residents are allowed to venture outside for essential activities, such as purchasing food and medicine or attending jobs in critical sectors, such as government, health, security, the production of essential goods, and in some provinces, critical and other authorized industries.
  • Beginning April 27, individuals will be allowed to move within a 500 m (546 yards) radius of their homes, for up to one hour, for recreational purposes, excluding sports. Individuals must continue to adopt social distancing and adequate sanitation measures.
  • The use of a protective face mask is mandated in parts of Buenos Aires province, including the capital, as well as in Catamarca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Mendoza, Misiones, Neuquen, Rio Negro, Salta, and Santiago del Estero provinces. Failure to comply with the order will result in a fine.
  • All schools and other educational institutions remain closed.
  • All public and private social, cultural, recreational, sports, and religious gatherings are prohibited.
  • Nonessential business and services, including commercial centers, cinemas, theaters, cultural centers, libraries, museums, restaurants, bars, gyms, clubs, and public parks are to remain closed.
  • The government has implemented strict controls on interprovincial movements and restrictions on public transport nationwide, and all domestic flights are suspended.
  • A temporary entry ban for all nonresident foreign nationals remains in place until further notice. Departing flights for repatriation purposes have occurred in limited numbers. International cargo transport is not affected; however, drivers and crews are subject to enhanced screening measures.


The measures in place will significantly impact business and transport in the country. Authorities will likely keep an increased police presence deployed to enforce the restrictions. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by Argentina's government correspond with similar actions taken by other governments globally in response to the spread of COVID-19, a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV).The government's decision to allow for flexibility among cities and towns with less than 500,000 people takes place amid the government's assessment that regular economic activity should resume in areas with a lower prevalence of COVID-19 activity. The five requirements necessary for exemption in these areas are:

  • The doubling time in the number of cases cannot be less than 15 days.
  • The health system must have the capacity to meet potential demand.
  • There must be a positive evaluation of the socio-sanitary vulnerability in relation to the demographic density.
  • There must be a guarantee that only 50 percent of the population can leave the house each day at any time.
  • The area must be free from community transmission.


The government has indicated that the exemptions from the quarantine can be reversed. Should the number of COVID-19 cases significantly increase, relaxed restrictions may be reapplied. Likewise, a continued low number of cases may result in a further relaxation of restrictions.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.


 


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