Argentina Extends Lockdown by 2 Weeks to May 10 to Contain Virus

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Argentina is extending its nationwide lockdown by another two weeks until May 10 to contain the coronavirus outbreak while it seeks to ease some restrictions in smaller cities.

President Alberto Fernandez said Saturday the lockdown — one of Latin America’s strictest — would continue for the capital Buenos Aires and other urban areas with a population of 500,000 or more. Cities such as Cordoba and Rosario will also be affected.

Metro areas with fewer people may return to normal activities if they meet five requirements, such as restricting movement to just half of each city’s population at any given time.

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The government is easing one measure across the country -- allowing limited recreational activities within 500 meters (0.3 mile) of each Argentine’s home.

Fernandez said the spread in Argentina has slowed as the nation crossed the one-month mark since the quarantine began March 20. The number of cases in Argentina is doubling every 17 days, he said, slower than the 10-day pace two weeks ago.

He also acknowledged the economic pain Argentines are enduring and said the government is working on a post-pandemic recovery plan, without providing specifics. The economy will shrink 5.7% this year, according to the IMF, among the deepest slumps in Latin America, and coming after two years of recession.

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