Argentina to ease Buenos Aires restrictions after nearly four months of tight lockdown

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina will gradually loosen a lockdown that has lasted nearly four months in and around Buenos Aires, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, after tougher restrictions since the start of July helped slow the spread of new COVID-19 infections. Fernandez said the gradual return to normal life will happen in several stages, with the first stage lasting until Aug

Reuters July 18, 2020 00:10:56 IST
Argentina to ease Buenos Aires restrictions after nearly four months of tight lockdown

Argentina to ease Buenos Aires restrictions after nearly four months of tight lockdown

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina will gradually loosen a lockdown that has lasted nearly four months in and around Buenos Aires, President Alberto Fernandez said on Friday, after tougher restrictions since the start of July helped slow the spread of new COVID-19 infections.

Fernandez said the gradual return to normal life will happen in several stages, with the first stage lasting until Aug. 2.

In capital Buenos Aires, which has been under the tightest restrictions in the country since March 20, shops, hair salons and some professional services will re-open.

Outdoor recreation activities will also be permitted. Schools will remain closed while officials analyze options for re-opening, said Buenos Aires mayor Horacio Rodriguez Larreta, who joined Fernandez for the announcement from the presidential palace.

Argentina has confirmed 114,783 cases, with 2,133 deaths, according to the latest official data. Infections have risen sharply in recent months, though remain below the levels seen in some of its South American neighbors.

"The effort we made was very important ... We are among the countries with the fewest deaths," Fernandez said, adding that the government could choose to tighten restrictions if infections increase again.

Argentina went into national lockdown on March 20, with restrictions later eased in many parts of the country outside Buenos Aires. Its borders remain closed, though a ban on commercial flights is due to expire on Sept. 1.

(Reporting by Nicolas Misculin and Jorge Otaola; Writing by Adam Jourdan and Cassandra Garrison; Editing by Rosalba O'Brien)

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