Argentina completed six months this Sunday since the imposition of social isolation measures to deal with the COVID-19 pandemic, with an epidemiological situation not yet controlled and a heavy cost for its already battered economy.
Since the Government of Alberto Fernandez decreed for the first time compulsory social isolation on March 20, the confinement measures have been extended twelve times, with gradual easing and backtracking depending on the health situation in the various regions of the country. The most recent extension was announced last Friday and will run until October 11.
The Fernández Executive, who assumed the Presidency last December, maintains that this strategy has allowed him to gain time to adapt the sanitary system for a better response to the emergency and to slow down a contagion curve, which in other countries has been explosive.
Since the detection of the first case, on March 3, Argentina has registered 631,365 infections, of which 8,431 were reported this Sunday, and 13,053 deaths from COVID-19, after 144 new deaths were confirmed in the last hours, according to data released today by the Ministry of Health.
In the last week, the daily average of positives has been 10,922, with a curve of cases that tends to stabilize but at a still high level in the metropolitan area of Buenos Aires and that it is growing in the interior of the country.
In fact, the novelty of this weekend is that for the first since the beginning of the pandemic, the daily registry of cases is higher in the interior of the country (50.8% of the total) than in Buenos Aires and its surroundings, a area that in May concentrated the 93% of infections.
The strict isolation measures That particularly prevailed from late March to mid-May, implied an almost total paralysis in a large part of an economy that had already been hit by the recession that began in April 2018.
In recent months, many flexibilities have been granted, but even so the indicators show very depressed levels of activity and, according to the latest official projection, the gross domestic product will end this year with a fall of 12.1%, a greater magnitude of decline to that observed in the serious crisis from 2001-2002.
According to the latest official data available, the economic activity accumulated in the first half of the year a collapse of 12.9%, industrial production dragged a collapse of 13.4% in the first seven months of the year and the construction sector, 34% in the same period.
Job losses and inflation
Private sources reported job losses and closing of companies and shops, whose activity has been in many cases null in the first months of the confinement.
The inflationMeanwhile, it continues at high levels, 18.9% accumulated in the first eight months of the year, so it is discounted that the poverty rate will be higher than 35.5% in the second semester of 2019, the latest official data reported .
A survey by the consulting firm Giacobbe & Asociados reveals that while at the beginning of the pandemic 85% supported the isolation measures, now 53.4% reject its continuity. Also according to this same survey, the positive image of Alberto Fernández fell from 67.8% at the beginning of the quarantine to 37.3%.
In this scenario, since the middle of the year there have been a series of protests public in Buenos Aires and the main cities in the interior of the country of citizens who reject the quarantine, although the claims are mixed with other slogans, such as opposition to government measures such as the impulse to a controversial judicial reform, among others.
“In parallel, there was a economic degradation, many people began to lose their jobs and the anguish grew. That logically contributed to more and more people taking to the streets, “Patricio Giusto, of the Political Diagnostic consulting firm, told Efe.
The analyst pointed out that, although there is a strong component of the middle classes in the protests, it is also observed, particularly in the interior, low income people who are in poverty.