Argentina to go into total lockdown as COVID cases soar

Only businesses deemed essential will remain open under the lockdown, which starts Saturday. In-person classes will be suspended, as will social, religious and sporting events.

FILE: Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez. Picture: Emiliano Lasalvia/AFP

BUENOS AIRES, Argentina - Argentina will go into total lockdown for nine days as it grapples with the worst phase yet of the COVID-19 pandemic, President Alberto Fernandez said on Thursday.

"We must accept that we are in a critical moment," Fernandez said as Argentina recorded 35,000 new cases in one day. The pandemic has claimed nearly 73,000 lives in the South American giant.

"We must come together to overcome this catastrophe," the president added.

Only businesses deemed essential will remain open under the lockdown, which starts Saturday. In-person classes will be suspended, as will social, religious and sporting events.

These new restrictions will be similar to ones imposed a year ago at the start of the pandemic to try to relieve the overburdened health care system.

On Thursday Argentina recorded 435 more deaths from COVID. Over the past seven days it has seen an average of around 27,000 new cases and nearly 500 fatalities per day.

Out of a population of 45,000 million, so far nearly 8.5 million have received one vaccination and another 2.2 million are completely inoculated.

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