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ARGENTINA | 31-03-2020 14:52

Health minister: Argentina will need 'gradual exit' from lockdown

Health Minister Ginés González García says officials are already studying how to reactivate the economy after April 12 and suggests that industries with younger, less vulnerable workforces will return to work first.

Health Minister Ginés González García stressed Tuesday that Argentina will need to undergo a "gradual exit" from general quarantine, hinting that a staggered approach to the removal of restrictions lies ahead.

Almost 1,000 cases of the novel Covid-19 coronavirus have been confirmed in Argentina to date, with at least 26 fatalities recorded. President Alberto Fernández recently ordered that the nationwide lockdown he put in place in mid-March be extended until midnight on Sunday, April 12, after consultations with medical experts and provincial leaders.

González García said that work was already underway to see "what productive activities could begin" to resume activity after that date.

"A gradual exit is necessary. One cannot leave one day for another in a thing of this type, as if nothing had happened and we all go back to doing activities like before, but neither can a society be permanently paralysed," he said in an interview with Radio La Red.

"We are going to leave [the quarantine] gradually but I don't know which way, because it depends on the evolution [of the pandemic]," said the national official.

González García, 74, said that groups who were considered to be "less vulnerable" to the novel Covid-19 coronavirus would have "more permissiveness" to leave their homes and return to their jobs.

"There is already a group working on this, seeing in which productive activities there are more young people or those with less risk," he confirmed.

The head of the health portfolio declared that economic reactivation was "a permanent concern for the [President Fernández's] Cabinet."

González García also expressed dismay at criticism the government had received over its management of the pandemic.

"Some want to return to the political grieta because it bothers them in a terrible way that the grieta does not continue," he said dismissively. "There are people who are thinking about who we blame. This is not the way to play in a society that is at collective risk."

– TIMES/NA

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