Argentine President Alberto Fernández Tuesday insisted his country is capable of hosting singlehandedly the Copa America football competition despite 35,543 new cases of Covid-19 and 745 deaths in one day for a record total of 71,771 casualties since the beginning of the pandemic.
The Cup is scheduled between June 11 and July 10 and is up until now due to take place both in Argentina and Colombia but given the political and social situation in the northern country, the Asunción-based South American Football Confederation (Conmebol) is said to be looking for other alternatives.
Let's not lower our arms, we know that we are in a difficult time, said Fernández. “Vaccines are arriving, we are going to accelerate the vaccination process, but we also need our conscience,” he added.
Until Monday, Argentina was ranked 11th in the world in total number of cases, and 14th in number of deaths. It also ranked 34th in the world in terms of infections and 25 in deaths when cases are measured relatively against the total population. Meanwhile, occupancy of intensive care beds reaches 72.2% natiowide but grows to 76.2% in the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area (AMBA) which includes the Autonomous City of Buenos Aires (CABA) plus the municipalities adjacent thereto.
Restrictions such as a curfew and a ban on on-site schooling have been imposed until May 21 and it remains to be seen what the federal and local governments decide to do as of this coming Saturday. National Cabinet Chief Santiago Cafiero has met with his counterparts from the Province of Buenos Aires, Carlos Bianco, and from CABA, Felipe Miguel, to discuss a joint action, but a return to a full scale lockdown (known as phase 1) has been ruled out, according to press reports. Hence, the primary target of further restrictions are said to be social gatherings, for which a full-scale quarantine only during weekends has emerged as a possibility according to local press sources.
But despite all these considerations and with Colombia's ongoing unrest, Fernández claimed his country could manage to host the entire Copa America by itself. If all the protocols are met and there is a problem, we are willing to see the possibility of organizing it alone.
Fernández went on: ”We will have to establish very strict protocols. If Conmebol tells us if we are willing to take charge, I am willing to study it, but I need to guarantee the protocols.”