Argentine President Alberto Fernández Wednesday announced further restrictions for the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) in a manoeuvre to curb the so-called second wave of the covid-19 disease.
As of Friday, the curfew hours will range now from 8pm to 6am. Businesses may remain open until 7pm and on-site classes will be halted as of this coming Monday until April 30.
Following the announcements, dozens gathered before the presidential residence of Olivos to protest against Fernández, who is working from there in the outskirts of the Argentine capital of Buenos Aires, unable to attend to his business from the Casa Rosada due to his positive testing for covid-19.
Restaurants may only work after 7pm to deliver meals, it was explained.
In the AMBA we are experiencing the highest rate of increase in [covid-19] cases since the beginning of the pandemic. Therefore, it is our obligation to take additional measures and call the population to change, to advance the vaccination plan and avoid the saturation of the health system, said Fernández.
In the President's view the greatest risk of transmission occurs in nighttime social and recreational activities, where there are not two meters of distance, crowds occur, masks are worn sparingly and also in closed spaces without adequate ventilation.
And he remarked that the AMBA constitutes a single urban agglomeration, one of the most populated in America, which has a single epidemiological reality, with a governor [of the province] and a head of government [mayor of the city of Buenos Aires] and two dozen municipalities.
He warned that we are monitoring the evolution of the pandemic day by day and a month ago, we accumulated 45,498 cases of infections, while this past week we recorded 122,468 cases and ]this week] will surely exceed this figure.
Fernández considered that the contagion of covid is not in the factories, it is not centrally in businesses that with social distance can serve customers, but in social gatherings where people relax and in a moment's distraction it is much easier to catch the virus.
Local authorities are to adapt the presidential instructions to their own jurisdictions, but federal law enforcement agents will be deployed to ensure they are followed.
I hope that the governors and mayors who understand that they must accompany me in this difficult moment, do so, Fernández asked, adding that what we need most is that you, Argentines, understand that individual care is central, not only so that we do not infect ourselves, but so that we do not infect the other.
We continue to negotiate and speak with all vaccine suppliers to close agreements,” so that more doses become available to carry on with the vaccination plan.
I am not moved by any political interest in what I am proposing to you today, I am not here raising these things to see how I profit politically, the only thing that matters to me is preserving ther health of the Argentines,” Fernández underlined. As Pope Francis says, no one is saved alone, he added.
Securuty Minister Sabina Frederic said that the four federal law enforcement agencies (Coast Guard, Border Guard, Airport Police and Federal Police) were to be deployed to achieve effective control of the measures Fernández had announced, particularly those regarding traffic restrictions between 8 pm and 6 am.
The federal agents are “to dissuade, persuade and penalize those who circulate especially in the great arteries and in the areas with greater night traffic.
Regarding the penalty for those who circulate during restricted hours, the head of the Security portfolio said that with the decree in force until today they had dialogue with all the courts with jurisdiction in the province of Buenos Aires and that the criterion was that of notification, and then, if there is a repeat offense, the seizure of the vehicle and the filing of a criminal case.”
We hope that the intervening courts will take the measures according to the temperament of the new norm, said Frederic.