Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Argentina maintains nationwide quarantine through April 26. Face masks mandatory in public in certain provinces, including Buenos Aires.

This alert affects Argentina

This alert began 16 Apr 2020 09:31 GMT and is scheduled to expire 26 Apr 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: Restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least April 26
  • Impact: Significant transport and business disruptions, mandatory quarantine, increased security

Summary
Argentinian authorities are maintaining the mandatory nationwide quarantine through at least April 26 to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Certain parts of the country have also mandated the use of face masks in public. In Buenos Aires city, face masks that cover the nose, mouth, and chin are compulsory in public spaces, public transport, and commercial premises as of April 15. Failure to comply with the order will result in a fine. The measure has already been implemented in Catamarca, Jujuy, La Rioja, Misiones, Neuquen, Salta, and Santiago del Estero provinces.

Under the quarantine order, residents are still allowed to venture outside, but only 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 areas, critical industries such as auto-workshops. The government has also implemented strict controls on interprovincial movements and restrictions on public transport nationwide, and all domestic flights are suspended. Other restrictions, including school cancellations, a ban on mass gatherings, and the suspension of nonessential activities, remain in effect. Security forces will continue to deploy to enforce the quarantine order and movement restrictions.

Additionally, 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. 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 recent days 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). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. On March 11, the WHO declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic.

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.

Resources
World Health Organization (WHO): www.who.int

Argentina Government - COVD-19 (Spanish): www.argentina.gob.ar/salud/