In Argentina, Uki Goñi reports some optimism.

Authorities are hopeful that Argentina may have imposed its nationwide lockdown early enough to avoid the kind of difficult scenarios seen in the US or Europe. The country added only 55 new cases of coronavirus and two deaths to its toll Saturday, bringing the total to 745 cases and 19 deaths so far, a sharp drop from the 101 cases Friday.

“The spike is moving to May and we are hoping it won’t be abrupt,” said health minister Ginés González García.

The lockdown was declared on March 20 when there were only 128 cases and three deaths reported.

The government’s deepest concern regarding the spread of the virus is the Greater Buenos Aires area around the capital city of buenos Aires, with a population of over 12 million people.

Some 21% of the GBA live in shanty towns, most of them without access to running water, nearly half of whom sleep more than three to a room. Unemployment is over 10% and 40% of the employed are informal workers without benefits.

“The quarantine is a dramatic situation for people in vulnerable situations,” said Agustín Salvia of the Social Observatory of the Catholic University of Buenos Aires, which provides the most reliable statistics on poverty in Argentina.

The quarantine has had one unexpected consequence, according to pharmacists, a shortage of Viagra, after the stock for March sold out early.

“There was an unexpected consumption,” said Marcelo Peretta, head of the Argentine Union of Pharmacists, who blamed the free time at home by the imposed quarantine for the run on the erectile dysfunction drug.

“We had to limit the amount sold per person, we never thought we’d sell this much Viagra.”

















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