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ARGENTINA | 09-03-2020 13:59

Buenos Aires City mayor urges caution as coronavirus numbers creep up

In the capital, there are now nine confirmed cases of Coronavirus, all of which recently returned from traveling, and an additional 70 people are under quarantine. To date, there has been one death.

Buenos Aires City Mayor Horacio Rodríguez Larreta and the City government's Health Minister Fernán Quirós called for calm Monday as they offered an update on the progress of the coronavirus in the capital and the implementation of different prevention measures.

"We have nine cases in the City, the protocol is being followed. Also 70 [individuals are] in quarantine," Rodríguez Larreta said at a press conference. 

"To those who have been to the eight most affected countries, we ask them to cooperate by staying in their homes for 15 days without contact with other people. If in that period they have a fever, they should dial 107," he added, referencing the SAME emergency line.

Regarding the protocol for infected patients, the City mayor explained that emergency personnel will "visit them at home and treat them in an isolation process.”

Quiros added that the updates from the City "could be daily," and that "viral circulation is intense in eight countries.”

The minister also discussed massive outdoor events, such as music festivals and football matches, and said officials are evaluating the situation and whether to cancel them. 

"The only measure we have taken is that those shows that are essentially organised with people from abroad are those that we will not be able to perform today," he said, without giving further details.

The Lollapalooza music festival, due to take place at the Hipódromo de San Isidro from March 27 to 29, is believed to be in doubt, though organisers say "at the moment" it is going ahead.

Other shows involving international music stars at the Campo Argentina de Polo – such as Maroon 5 (March 12), Metallica (April 18) and Kiss (May 9) – are also believed to be at risk, as is teen star Billie Eilish's June concert at the Arena DirecTV.

Rodríguez Larreta confirmed in a social media post early Monday that the City had identified "the first cases of coronavirus."

"Today in the City we have nine positive cases, all imported, isolated based on the corresponding protocol," he added.

"Faced with this situation, the best thing we can do against the coronavirus is to prevent [its spread]," he added, asking those who had recently "returned from China, South Korea, Japan, Iran, Italy, Spain, France or Germany" to "stay at home for at least two weeks and that avoid contact with other people, even if they have no symptoms."

"If within these two weeks you have a fever, sore throat, cough, mucus or difficulty breathing, call 107 to receive the information you need and the steps to follow in each case," the Juntos por el Cambio mayor recommended.

He added that "preventative measures are the same as for flu: wash your hands with soap and water for at least one minute, use alcohol gel, cough and sneeze on the elbow fold or in a tissue and throw it in a trash can."

Finally, the mayor said that "the city's health system is prepared to prevent and assist cases of coronavirus."

"We are working in coordination with the national authorities, with teams of experts and with the public and private health centers constantly," he concluded.

—TIMES/PERFIL

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