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Argentina increases measures amid coronavirus fears

President signs Decree of Necessity and Urgency to take new measures to protect Argentinians

Beyza Binnur Donmez   | 13.03.2020
Argentina increases measures amid coronavirus fears

ANKARA

Argentine President Alberto Fernandez announced Friday that new measures will be taken to protect Argentinians from coronavirus outbreak.

"Following the declaration of the coronavirus COVID-19 as a pandemic by the World Health Organization (WHO), we have decided to take new measures to protect the population, explained in a Decree of Necessity and Urgency that I have just signed," Fernandez said in a Twitter statement.

The president said the health emergency is extended for one year, which may be extended if the epidemiological situation persists.

Also, the Ministry of Health is given expanded authority to strengthen prevention, coverage and treatment.

Fernandez stressed that the decree includes a flight ban from the most affected countries.

"The areas considered affected by the pandemic are the following: all the countries of Europe, the United States, South Korea, Japan, China and Iran," he said. "All flights from these areas are suspended for 30 days."

It also provides mandatory isolation for 14 days for "suspected and confirmed cases, their close contacts and those who arrive in the country from affected areas or have transited through them in the last 14 days".

In case of breach of the isolation, the authorities "must file the criminal complaint," he urged.

He said the operators of national and international means of transport will be obliged to comply with the sanitary measures and preventive actions established.

The president emphasized the decree makes it possible to arrange closure of places of public access, suspend public shows and all other massive events and impose security distances and other necessary measures to avoid crowds.

Argentina has at least 21 confirmed coronavirus cases with one fatality so far, according to Johns Hopkins University in the U.S.

After emerging in Wuhan, China last December, the virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 123 countries and territories.

The global death toll is now nearly 5,000, with more than 132,500 confirmed cases, according to the World Health Organization, which declared the outbreak a pandemic.

A vast majority of those who become infected recover from the illness.

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