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Argentina exceeds 1.5 million coronavirus cases – Health Ministry

Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Buenos Aires

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) – Argentina said on Monday that it had now recorded 1.5 million cases of coronavirus, making it the ninth country in the world to reach the milestone.

The Latin American nation has managed to tame an explosion of cases, which reached a peak of 18,326 daily cases confirmed in October. It saw a steady decline in case numbers over recent weeks to 5,062 confirmed on Monday.

The Ministry of Health said there had been 1,503,222 people infected so far with COVID-19, 41,041 dead and 1,340,120 patients recovered from the disease.

The Argentine government, which is also struggling to manage the blow dealt by COVID-19 to an economy heading for its third year in recession, has struck a number of deals to obtain vaccines with Britain’s AstraZeneca <AZN.L > and with Russia, which is developing Sputnik V vaccine.

However, medics insist that precautionary isolation measures and robust virus tracking will be needed for the near future.

“We should not relax nor think, talk about or pin hopes on a vaccine,” said Carlos Kambourian, a pediatrician and former hospital director. “We must drill down on testing, on selective isolation, on dynamic quarantines. We have to focus on that because we still have a year ahead where the case numbers will go up and down.”

(Reporting by Jorge Otaola and Juan Bustamente, writing by Aislinn Laing, editing by Eliana Raszewski and Aurora Ellis)

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