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Argentina Coronavirus News Roundup: March 31st

Daily Updates of COVID-19 in Argentina

By | [email protected] | March 31, 2020 11:32pm

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New cases registered today: 88

Total number of cases in Argentina: 1054

Total deaths so far: 27

Government Prepares to Ban Layoffs for 60 Days (La Nación)

  • On Tuesday, President Fernández announced that he is preparing a decree to ban layoffs for the next 60 days, hoping to minimize the economic impact of the coronavirus 
  • After pressure from trade unions, the President reported this decision during a videoconference with mayors from around Argentina and Governor Axel Kicillof 
  • Though few details were provided, the President did claim that there would be few exceptions to the ban if there was justifiable cause 

Increase in Medical Supply Amid Rising Death Toll (The Buenos Aires Times)

  • Expecting a surge in the caseload of coronavirus patients, the Ministry of Health announced Tuesday that the government would provide 2,000 more intensive care beds and artificial respirators to bolster supplies 
  • The decision comes after the mortality count rose to 27 on Tuesday following the deaths of two female doctors in Chaco and La Rioja provinces and a 89-year-old woman from the Córdoba province

Government Preparing Plan to Increase Protections for Elderly Citizens  (La Nación)

  • After a videoconference meeting with various majors and government officials on Tuesday, the Chief of Government of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, emphasized the necessity to create an additional isolation plan for elderly citizens in Argentina
  • Though not yet enforced, Larreta proposed varying restrictions for the “risk population” of citizens over 70 years, based on 3 different groupings — designing isolation policies specific to each
  • The groupings are thought to be designed based on financial and personal support resources, affecting the level of government support to each 
  • The plan also included a proposal to lease 19 hotels in Buenos Aires to both accommodate Argentines returning to the country during the pandemic and isolate elderly citizens with limited resources 

President Fernández warns of Bolsonaro’s Approach to the Virus as a Threat to Argentina (The Buenos Aires Times)

  • On Monday, President Fernández expressed concern over the relaxed approach towards the coronavirus pandemic taken by Brazil’s government, fearing that it may pose a threat to Argentina’s ability to combat the virus 
  • After President Bolsonaro instructed Brazilian citizens to continue their activities as normal, President Fernández emphasized that the decision “complicates [the situation] and I very much regret that the dimension of the problem is not understood”

President Fernández Freezes Rent Prices and Mortgage Payments for 3 Months (The Buenos Aires Times)

  • Responding to the economic hardships brought on by the outbreak of COVID-19, President Fernández moved to freeze rent prices and mortgage payments for the next 3 months through a decree released on Sunday
  • The decree additionally bans all foreclosures and evictions until September 30th — legislation that applies to all “family” homes (not second homes) in the country 
  • The only exception to the decree exists in the case of landlords and landladies who depend on the rent to cover family needs, though lacks specifications in situations where tenants’ income is restricted due to the quarantine

Government to Announce a New Economic Plan for Employers and Workers (Infobae)

  • It is expected that the government will announce a new economic stimulus plan on Tuesday evening, titled the “Emergency Assistance to Work and Production Program”
  • According to Infobae, the plan is projected be passed through presidential decree and reduce employer contributions to workers’ salaries, with the government compensating for such reductions 
  • Such benefits depend on a lack of employee dismissal by employers without just cause and require a reinstatement of workers dismissed after February 28th to access benefits 
  • The proposal is expected to last through April 30th, though the Chief of The Cabinet of Ministers has the authority to extend its enforcement

Government Does Not Plan to Lower Salaries of Executive Branch Officials  (La Nación)

  • Despite calls from opposition leaders for President Fernández to lower the salaries of executive branch officials during the coronavirus pandemic, government officials announced Tuesday that the government did not plan to implement such changes at the moment
  • Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, mayor of the city of Buenos Aires, followed the lead of President Fernández, choosing not to comment on such requests, but stressed on the government’s commitment to fighting the pandemic and its effects on society.