Argentina and Peru close borders amid coronavirus outbreak

The Argentinian government on Sunday announced a 15-day entry ban on all foreigners, while Peru declared a 15-day state of emergency amid the new coronavirus pandemic.

“At the moment we know that all of our cases are imported, and we have to do all we can to prevent the virus from transmitting locally,” Argentinian President Alberto Fernandez said in a press conference as he announced a series of “drastic measures” to slow down the spread of the virus.

“For the next 15 days – a period that can be extended – Argentina’s borders will be closed,” Fernandez said. “Nobody will be able to enter Argentina, except of course Argentinian natives or foreigners who live in Argentina.”

Among the new measures, Fernandez also announced that schools would be closed until March 31 and that theatres and cinemas would also remain shut.

The country had 45 confirmed infections and two deaths, according to the World Health Organization (WHO) figures released on Sunday morning.

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Peruvian President Martin Vizcarra meanwhile declared a state of emergency “implying compulsory social isolation” and a complete shut down of borders.

In a televised message to the nation, Vizcarra said that the travel ban would affect people but not goods and that “constitutionally guaranteed rights will be reduced” during the 15 days that the state of emergency is meant to last.

The leader said that people would only be allowed to leave their homes to access essential services.

The Peruvian president said that so far his country has recorded 71 cases of the coronavirus, with the majority of infected individuals returning from Europe but also including local transmission cases.

Meanwhile, an 85-year-old man became the first person with Covid-19, the disease caused by the virus, to die in Guatemala, Health Minister Hugo Monroy said in a press conference.

The man had returned from Spain without showing signs of illness, Monroy said.

The worst-affected country in Latin America remained Brazil, where confirmed cases shot up to 200 according to figures released by the Health Ministry late on Sunday.

Chile reported 75 cases as of Sunday while Colombia registered a jump of 11 cases since Saturday for a total of 45.

More than 150,000 people have contracted the virus since the outbreak first started in China in December, with over 5,700 deaths reported.


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