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ARGENTINA | 17-10-2020 09:50

New records, same problem: Covid-19 continues to ravage Argentina

With more than 25,000 dead and close to a million infected, Argentina now ranks fifth for confirmed cases worldwide. Week closes with record high caseloads.

Despite one of the world’s longest lockdowns to halt the spread of the novel coronavirus, Argentina is still struggling to contain Covid-19, with the country continuing to register high daily caseloads.

On Thursday, government officials said that a record 17,096 new infections had been identified. The following day, the tally dropped, but only slightly, to 16,546. 

According to the Health Ministry, a total of 965,609 confirmed cases have now been registered by authorities in Argentina. That makes the country the fifth worst-affected nation worldwide, when measured purely by infections.

On Friday, government data showed that 381 fatalities (207 men and 172 women, with the sex of two more unconfirmed) had been registered over the last 24 hours, lifting the death toll to 25,723. Measured solely by the deceased, Argentina ranks 12th globally.

At the current rate, Argentina will likely pass one million total infections toward the end of next week.

Despite the figures, Argentina’s death rate remains low. The Health Ministry said at press time that of the more than 965,000 cases, 778,501 individuals are now classified as recovered patients, with 161,385 active confirmed cases. 

Officials said that 27,412 tests had been carried out over the past 24 hours, taking the total number since the beginning of the outbreak to 2.33 million.

The highest number of newly confirmed cases were recorded in Buenos Aires Province (5,199), Santa Fe Province (2,582), Córdoba Province (2,045), Tucumán Province (1,514), Buenos Aires City (952) and Mendoza Province (897).

Referencing the healthcare system, the government said in its evening report that bed occupancy in intensive care units (ICUs) stood at 64.5 percent, with 4,346 individuals receiving urgent treatment. In the Buenos Aires metropolitan area (AMBA), ICU bed occupancy is at 63.5 percent.

Experts warned this week that Misiones, San Juan, Tucumán and Chubut were registering the largest increases, exceeding a ratio of 40 cases per 1,000 people. By way of contrast, Catamarca, Formosa and Misiones have a ratio of around one per 1,000 individuals.

The  Epidemiological Research Institute (IIE) estimated Thursday that more than 20 percent of the population had come into contact with the virus, if factoring in the misdiagnosed or those who had not come forward for testing.

Global outlook

Coronavirus cases in the United States topped eight million Friday as the world saw the highest-ever number reported in a single day, while European countries tightened measures to control the pandemic's spread.

The running US case tally from Johns Hopkins University is the highest in the world, followed by India at 7.4 million cases and Brazil with 5.1 million. The United States, led by President Donald Trump, has also suffered the most coronavirus deaths of any country, at over 218,000.

Worldwide, more than 400,000 new cases were reported on Friday alone, according to an AFP tally based on official data – a figure only partly explained by increased testing since the first wave of the pandemic in March-April.

Across Europe, the average number of daily infections leapt 44 percent in a single week to over 121,000. 

– TIMES/AFP/AP

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