Argentina surged past the 10,000-mark of total coronavirus cases on Friday in a fourth record day of sharply rising numbers. Nearly all
are concentrated in the capital Buenos Aires and its surrounding Greater Buenos Aires area.
The Buenos Aires metropolitan area, with a population of 12m, reported 93% of Friday’s 718 new cases, bringing the
total so far to 10,649 reported cases across the country. The total
death count is now 433, with 17 deaths reported on Friday.
Unlike its neighbours Brazil and Chile, with more than 333,000 and 60,000 cases respectively, Argentina’s numbers had stayed low
after an early government lockdown went into force on 20 March.
But numbers have started rising sharply recently. Today’s record 718 new daily cases follows a record 648 cases on Thursday, a record 474
on Wednesday and a record 438 on Tuesday.
Driving the numbers are the “villas” or slums of Buenos Aires with cramped living conditions and problems in the supply of running water.
Buenos Aires city accounted for 56% of Friday’s new cases, the
province of Buenos Aires, including the city’s greater metropolitan
area, 37%, and the rest of Argentina, with a total population of 44m, accounted for only 7% of new cases.
Hello and welcome to the Guardian’s live coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic. To recap the latest developments around the world:
- About 1.8bn Muslims worldwide will celebrate one of their biggest holidays, the three-day Eid al-Fitr, largely confined to their home. The celebration marks the end of the fasting month of Ramadan, and usually involves travelling, visiting family and gathering for lavish meals, all of which will be largely prohibited as authorities try to prevent virus outbreaks.
- Meanwhile, another study has shown that the anti-malarial drug the US president, Donald Trump, is taking to prevent Covid-19 has increased deaths in patients treated with it in hospitals around the world. It follows a study published in April that showed hospital patients given hydroxychloroquine in the US found no benefit from the drug, either alone or given in combination with an antibiotic. In fact the patients treated with hydroxychloroquine alone had a higher mortality rate.
- Still in the US, in yet another attack on media Trump called the editor of the New York Times “one of the dumbest men” in journalism, and as CNN’s fact-checker has noted, this is the third time in the last month he has called a prominent black journalist “dumb”. He also spent his Friday evening attacking his former attorney general, Jeff Sessions, on Twitter. Trump declared churches, mosques and synagogues “essential services” and threatened to override governors who refuse to reopen them this weekend – a power he does not possess.
- In Russia, the Chechen leader, Ramzan Kadyrov, is being treated for Covid-19 in Moscow. He has not been seen publicly in the 24 hours since Russian state media said he had been taken to hospital with symptoms.
- South America has become a new centre of the pandemic, the World Health Organization has said. Peru has extended its state of emergency until June.
- In the UK, police have spoken to the prime minister’s key adviser, Dominic Cummings, about breaching the government’s lockdown rules. Cummings was seen in Durham, 425km from his London home, despite having had symptoms of coronavirus.
- Finally, in Australia, the federal government blamed employers incorrectly filling in a form for massively overestimating the size of the jobkeeper payment scheme. The error between the number of employees businesses estimated would be covered by the scheme and the actual number receiving the payment means the scheme will cover 3.5m workers, down from 6.5m. It will also cost about $70bn, not $130bn. The government is so far resisting calls from Labor to extend the payment to casuals and those workers who were not eligible for the payment.