Argentina Faces Second Wave of COVID with Exhausted Economy | Latin America | DW

In 2020 Argentina decided to face the COVID-19 pandemic with a harsh and long confinement aimed at avoiding saturation of the health system. But now, faced with the second wave, the fragility of the economy makes it difficult to apply drastic measures.

With an upward curve of infections in the last two weeks, which already places Argentina among the 10 countries with the highest number of new daily infections, the government of President Alberto Fernández will apply new restrictions as of midnight this Thursday (04/08/2021 ).

The main one is a night curfew, which some specialists consider insufficient to stop the spread of the disease.

The use of public transportation will also be restricted, meetings will be limited, and discos, party halls and gaming venues will be closed.

Fernández, 62, who is in isolation for having been infected with COVID-19 despite being vaccinated, provided aid and subsidies to companies and workers last year to sustain the confinement.

“Luckily I did. I think we saved tens of thousands of lives,” said the president.

However, now these subsidies are not proposed in an Argentina that has already accumulated three years of recession and whose Gross Domestic Product contracted 9.9% in 2020, one of the worst brands in the region.

In addition, a mid-term parliamentary election must be held in October, in which the ruling party aspires to maintain a majority in Congress.

“The government did not budget for social assistance this year as it did last year. The government tries to be prudent with the restrictions because the economy has an impact on the voting decision and the government needs a decent election that gives it legitimacy for the following two years “of mandate, the analyst Carlos Fara explained to the AFP agency.

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The dilemma between health and the economy is open. According to Fernández, “it is very difficult for governments to impose greater restrictions because people do not comply with them. People are very reluctant to stay at home again. There are many people who need to go back to work. It is very difficult to contain them.”

Poverty reached 42% of the population and unemployment reached 11% at the end of 2020. This Thursday, hundreds of members of popular organizations demonstrated in front of the Ministry of Social Development to demand more aid.

gs (afp, Diary One)

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