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27 Mar 2020 | 02:42 AM UTC

Argentina: Government suspends repatriation flights as of March 26 /update 5

President Alberto Fernández temporarily suspends repatriation flights as of March 26; nationwide quarantine remains in place

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ARG

Event

Argentinian President Alberto Fernández has temporarily suspended repatriation flights as of Thursday, March 26. According to President Fernández, repatriation flights were canceled due to fears that coronavirus (COVID-19) may spread at Ezeiza International Airport (EZE) in Buenos Aires. On Wednesday, March 25, a passenger on a flight to EZE arriving from Madrid developed symptoms of COVID-19 and was transferred to a hospital upon arrival and the other passengers were placed under quarantine.

A mandatory nationwide quarantine came into effect on Friday, March 20, and will remain in placed until Tuesday, March 31. During the quarantine, all individuals will be required to remain at home unless going out to purchase basic goods. Only bakeries, supermarkets, pharmacies, public and private hospitals, and service stations will be allowed to operate. Police officers will be deployed to enforce the quarantine. Borders were closed to all non-residents on Sunday, March 15, and all flights from Europe and the US were suspended for at least 30 days from Tuesday, March 17. According to media reports, the nationwide quarantine may be extended to April 13 depending on the evolution of the outbreak.

As of March 26, 733 cases of COVID-19 have been confirmed in the country. Further international spread of the virus is expected over the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing, seek medical care urgently and share your previous travel history with your health care provider.