The Government of Argentina looked determined Thursday to extend for four additional weeks the cap of 600 passengers a day to be allowed through the Ezeiza international airport, albeit with some exceptions.
The new presidential emergency decree (DNU) for a measure that expires Friday is expected to allow for some additional flights or a gradual increase to the limit, depending on the evolution of the pandemic and a case by case basis.
Meanwhile, two more cases of the delta variant were reported Thursday by the Malbrán Institute: One of the patients had arrived from Barcelona and the other from Miami.
Before June 26 there was a 2,000 passenger cap.
In the last year, 9 airlines decided to lift their routes to Argentina. Honestly, we believe that if the situation continues like this, there will be more airlines that decide to leave or suspend their activities, said Felipe Baravalle, executive director of the Argentine Chamber of Air Lines (Jurca). Since the beginning of the pandemic, Latam, Qatar Airways and Air New Zealand have left permanently while Emirates, Ethiopian Airlines, Alitalia, Gol, Azul Linhas Aéreas Brasileiras and Air Canada have suspended their activities until further notice.
Government officials Thursday insisted that the next few months are key to advancing with the vaccination campaign, and sustaining the opening of activities that have been achieved so far.
Regarding the restrictions to stop the contagion of Covid-19 in the national territory, the Government decided to extend for four weeks the DNU that established the epidemiological traffic light, which will take effect from this Saturday.
In this way, the National Executive will extend Decree 287, which was published in the Official Gazette on May 1, which established four health phases: areas of low epidemiological risk, medium risk, high risk and alarm.
Under these regulations, areas that are in epidemiological alarm must have night circulation restricted, prohibit social gatherings and suspend face-to-face classes.
But the reality of the 600-passenger limit is even harsher because that restriction has resulted in an ensuing reduction to the number of flights allowed to land daily at Ezeiza. Only 471 passengers arrived Thursday: 263 aboard an American Airlines flight from Miami which was first diverted to Córdoba due to fog and 208 carried by Lufthansa from Frankfurt.
In that scenario, the global organization Amnesty International on Thursday asked the Argentine government for information on the thousands of Argentines who are stranded abroad due to the restrictions it imposed by limiting the quota of people who can enter the country, and considered that the government of Alberto Fernández violates human rights.
“We began to receive complaints from people stranded. They sleep at the airport and have to do PCR every day. The restriction in Argentina is not contemplated in law. Citizens must be given predictability. Human rights are being violated, not all the requirements for restrictions are met. Citizens' rights are being violated,” said Mariela Belski, executive director of Amnesty International Argentina, in a radio interview.