Argentina has announced a fixed sum for self-employed and independent workers who are being left without their livelihood because of the country’s general lockdown to halt the spread of coronavirus. Some four million people are estimated to be eligible for the benefit. They include hairdressers, restaurant workers, construction workers and domestic employees. Argentina’s population is 45 million.
Conversations are under way as well with utility and mobile phone companies to prevent the cutting off of services for lack of payment while the nationwide quarantine remains in effect.
Argentina had a slight respite in the increase of coronavirus cases Sunday, with only 41 new cases reported, bringing the total to 266, compared with an increase of 67 Saturday.
Press reports Sunday affirmed that the government of President Alberto Fernández is handling projections of a minimum 250 thousand coronavirus cases by June and is therefore considering extending the nationwide quarantine beyond its original March 31 deadline.
China latest figures
We have the latest figures from China now, which saw a drop in its daily tally of new coronavirus cases, reversing four straight days of higher figures, as the capital Beijing ramped up measures to contain the number of infections arriving from abroad.
On Monday, China reported 39 new cases from the previous day, all of which were from imported cases, according to the National Health Commission. On Sunday, China ordered that all international flights to Beijing will be diverted to other cities where passengers will be screened before continuing on to the capital.
Authorities in Wuhan are loosening restrictions. Residents can now leave the city if they have a green health code, issued through an app. Those stuck in Wuhan over the last two months may now leave if they are screened and get a health certificate from local authorities.
Residents and community volunteers can now enter grocery shops but are required to present electronic health codes, from their smartphones, have their temperature tested and register their names.
Other signs of life returning to normal in China include Beijing seeing early morning Monday before work traffic. Several provinces have announced dates for when students will go back to school.
The announcement from Canada comes as Japan’s prime minister, Shinzo Abe, hinted that postponing the Tokyo Olympics could be an option if the coronavirus pandemic made it impossible to hold the Games this summer and with the full quota of athletes and spectators.
It is the first time that Abe has publicly conceded that the timing of the Games, which are due to open on 24 July, may have to change, as more athletes and sports federations added their voices to calls for a postponement.
Cancellation, however, is not among the options, Abe said, echoing the position of the International Olympic Committee [IOC], which said on Sunday that it was drawing up alternative scenarios for the Games but was not considering calling them off.
If holding the Olympics in its complete form “becomes impossible, we may have no option but to consider postponing the Games, given the Olympics’ principle of putting the health of athletes first,” he told parliament on Monday.
The IOC is expected to take up to a month to reach a decision. “These scenarios relate to modifying existing operational plans for the Games to go ahead on 24 July 2020, and also for changes to the start date of the Games,” it said in a statement.
“The IOC will … start detailed discussions to complete its assessment of the rapid development of the worldwide health situation and its impact on the Olympic Games, including the scenario of postponement. The IOC is confident that it will have finalised these discussions within the next four weeks.”