Argentina's Health Minister Carla Vizzotti Sunday admitted the new SARS-CoV-2 variant named “Mu” and which was first detected in Colombia was being watched closely, although the now more common Delta version remained the main source of concern.
The official also insisted the Government's efforts were focused on the vaccination campaign so that borders could be reopened at the earliest.
Argentina had to backtrack on its decision to restore bridge circulation in crossings to and from Uruguay which had been announced for September 6 over sanitary issues.
”In the region, there is an attentive look (towards the mu variant) in relation to where it appears and the speed of its transmissibility, Vizzotti told the news agency EFE in Rome, where she is to take part in Monday's Health G20 Summit, organized under the rotating presidency of Italy.
It is a firm position that Argentina also brings to the G20: as long as all countries cannot agree to vaccinate their populations there will be the risk that new variants emerge and that what has been achieved will be regressed, she was quoted as saying.
Hence's Argentina's commitment to accelerating the production of vaccines and improving access for all countries, she went on. In Argentina, 65% of the target population has already been vaccinated with at least one dose and just over 35% have completed the cycle.
The intention is to continue expanding this percentage before reopening to foreign tourism and reaching at least 45-50% of the immunized population while beginning to vaccinate people over 12 years of age.
Vizzotti says that in Argentina massive events are beginning to be organized, domestic tourism is growing and students are rethinking student trips, which had been an activity that had reported numerous cases of coronavirus spread.
Foreign tourism is the next step, she went on. She also explained the Delta variant was “not predominant” in the country and that it was under control, but it was still necessary to buy time to complete the vaccination plans before allowing external flows.
Vizzotti also said she trusted that between September and October Argentina can meet the goal of reaching at least 45% of the population with the complete therapy and depending on the vaccination coverage and the epidemiological situation of the other countries it will be possible to speak of the gradual and careful opening of the borders.
Argentina has escalated a lot in vaccination, it has reached the capacity to inoculate between 9 and 10 million doses per month, but it has also worked to control COVID-19 with other actions, such as strengthening the health system, increasing among other things by 60% the number of ventilators in modular hospitals in strategic locations.
Argentina's management of the pandemic and the need for countries to continue collaborating internationally to control its spread will be some of the issues that Minister Vizzotti will bring to the G20 ministerial meeting, a month ahead of the summit of leaders in Rome.
The Argentine minister highlights the importance of this G20 Health being face-to-face and stresses that health is a priority and that equitable and timely access to diagnostic methods, treatments and vaccines is very relevant to respond to this pandemic.
On Saturday Vizzotti also spoke in the Italian capital with the Secretary of Health and Human Services of the United States, Xavier Becerra, about the importance of strengthening the region of the Americas, and with the Italian Minister of Health, Roberto Speranza, about the exchange of covid management experiences.