The "social, preventive, and compulsory isolation" decreed five months ago by the government of Alberto Fernández has become the longest uninterrupted quarantine in the world.
It mainly affects the demographic, financial, and industrial heart of the country: the metropolitan region of Buenos Aires (or AMBA), where 40% of the Argentine population lives, and where the coronavirus pandemic is concentrated.
In Argentina, the quarantine began on March 20 and still continues, although with some exceptions: you can go out to exercise and shop, for example, everything related to social gatherings is prohibited and, in addition, to go out by car you need a permit.
People exempted from confinement include health personnel, workers in the food chain, public servants, journalists, and there are permits to operate establishments such as laundries.
While in other parts of the world, even where there were tens of thousands of deaths from Covid-19, people can already meet friends, go to a bar for a drink or spend the day on a beach, in the most populated region In Argentina, all these activities have been banned since the quarantine was decreed on March 20.
The authorities affirm that these measures have managed to avoid thousands of deaths due to COVID-19. They highlight that 90% of infections occur in the AMBA area.
The South American country has more than 342,000 cases of infection, with an average of about 737 infected per 100,000 inhabitants.
Argentina has a fatality rate much lower than many countries in the region such as Brazil, Mexico, Peru, Chile, Colombia, Bolivia, and Ecuador.
A large proportion of Argentines have stopped obeying the government's orders and the streets in large cities have once again filled with people.
Either due to the need to go out to work or to free themselves from the long confinement, today few inhabitants continue to comply with the strict isolation ordered by the presidential decree.
This led the president to affirm on August 14 that "the quarantine no longer exists" he said before announcing the tenth extension of "social, preventive and compulsory isolation", which will last until August 30.
According to the Argentine Chamber of Commerce and Services, more than 42,000 small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) have closed since March, double the number that disappeared during the 2001/2002 crisis.
The Ineco Foundation, of the prestigious Argentine neuroscientist Facundo Manes, determined that the levels of depression in the Argentine population have increased fivefold with respect to the "pre-pandemic" values.
A report published by the Faculty of Psychology of the University of Buenos Aires (UBA) revealed that more than half of the population does not carry out activities that are considered healthy since the quarantine began.
Six out of 10 gained weight, according to the Argentine Nutrition Society (SAN). This is a population where more than 60% were already overweight.