Argentina puts 16 million people under mandatory curfew

Argentina puts 16 million people under mandatory curfew
Anti-government protest in Buenos Aires. Photo: Hernan E. Schmidt/Shutterstock

President Alberto Fernández of Argentina decided to extend curfew rules imposed last week until April 30. Moreover, he suspended classes and other essential services. 

The decision affects 16 million people, as both private and public hospitals surpass occupancy rates of 70 percent. More than 120,000 new cases have been reported within a single week, compared to an average of 45,000 per week during March.

“All the efforts against Covid-19 we tried last week were insufficient, that’s why I decided that, between 8 pm and 6 am, no one can be on the streets,” said Mr. Fernández, during an address to the nation. Previous regulations allowed bars and restaurants to open until 11 pm, which has now been cut to 7 pm.

The extended curfew didn’t sit well with citizens, and led to pot-banging protests in front of the presidential residence of Olivos in Buenos Aires.

The economic consequences of coronavirus restrictions have been too much to bear for a country going into a third straight recessive year. The crisis in Argentina is made even worse by a slow vaccination rollout: only 1.7 percent of 45 million citizens have received two vaccine jabs.