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Argentine authorities call for greater efforts from public to battle pandemic

Xinhua | Updated: 2020-06-24 09:18
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Technician Diego Rey holds test strips part of the ELA-CHEMSTRIP COVID-19 kit, developed by a group of Argentine scientists that diagnoses the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in symptomatic or asymptomatic people, in Buenos Aires, Argentina June 18, 2020. [Photo/Agencies]

BUENOS AIRES - Argentine authorities on Tuesday called on the public to "make more of an effort" to contain the COVID-19 pandemic or risk a return to stricter lockdown measures in the capital Buenos Aires and the Metropolitan Area (AMBA).

When lockdown measures were first launched on March 20, "we made a great effort, there was a great commitment on the part of the people, and we have to persuade them to return to that commitment and make more of an effort," Health Minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia said.

"I don't think this is going to be eternal, but we have to bring things to a stop. It could be very useful to stop a little, because there is a lot of circulating and we are at a critical moment," Gonzalez told local Mitre radio station.

Argentina's capital needs to intensify its efforts to avoid overwhelming the healthcare system, something it has so far managed to do, he said.

Argentina has reported a total of 44,931 cases of infection -- 20,366 in Buenos Aires province and 20,031 in the capital Buenos Aires.

Buenos Aires Mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta called the data of the outbreak in the AMBA region "very concerning."

"If cases continue to rise, we will necessarily have to apply greater restrictions," Rodriguez told local media.

On Monday night, the country reported 2,146 daily new cases of infection, the largest single-day figure since the outbreak was detected here on March 3.

Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez is set to meet with Rodriguez and the governor of Buenos Aires province, Axel Kicillof, on Thursday to map out the next phase of pandemic strategy.

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