By Walter Bianchi
BUENOS AIRES, Argentina, Weds. Aug 19, 2020 (Reuters) – Argentina confirmed 6,840 new cases of coronavirus and 172 new deaths on Tuesday, taking it simultaneously over the 300,000 case and 6,000 death threshold as the Latin nation battles a surge of contagions in recent weeks.
The country’s health ministry reported a total of 305,966 cases and 6,048 deaths.
Dr Luis Camera, a member of the Argentine government’s health advisory group, said while cases, intensive care admissions and hospital bed occupancy rates were not still climbing, they had settled at an unsustainable level.
“The highest points for the City of Buenos Aires could have been the last days of July and the first days of August,” he told Reuters TV. “Now the infection curve has stabilized at a plateau, but a high plateau. In South America, you call it the altiplano, as opposed to the lowlands.”
The recent peaking of cases saw the government last week renew restrictions for Buenos Aires that had been relaxed in many parts of the nation.
The announcement was greeted by thousands taking part in a street protest on Monday against the measures, which have cause further economic pain in a country already in deep recession. “It seems to me that, as in other countries, we should be trusted to behave like adults and responsibly resume work and moving the country forward,” said Patricia Velvisi, a 52-year-old worker.
On Tuesday, the director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) said the COVID-19 pandemic and associated shutdown had provoked an unprecedented mental health crisis due to stress and drug and alcohol use.
(Reporting by Walter Bianchi; Writing by Aislinn Laing; Editing by Lincoln Feast.)