Argentina extends coronavirus quarantine until mid April

FILE PHOTO: A soldier is seen at the military mobile hospital that will care for patients infected with coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in San Miguel, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina March 24, 2020. REUTERS/Matias Baglietto

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina’s President Alberto Fernandez said on Sunday that the country would extend a mandatory nationwide quarantine period until the middle of April in a bid to slow the spread of the coronavirus that has killed over 30,000 people worldwide.

The quarantine, which restricts non-essential workers from leaving their homes apart from to buy groceries or medicines, has seen the South American country’s streets virtually emptied, while its major grains industry has faced some disruption.

The tough measure was initially until the end of March. It will now be in place until the end of the Easter Holy Week, Fernandez said, which would mean it would be lifted on April 12.

“We are going to extend the quarantine until the end of Easter. What do we aim to achieve? To keep the transmission of the virus under control,” he said in a televised message.

Fernández added that the initial results of the compulsory isolation since March 20 looked “good”. The country has recorded 820 coronavirus cases with 20 deaths, although the increase in cases has shown some signs of slowing in recent days.

Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Adam Jourdan; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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