May 6, 2020 / 4:36 AM / a month ago

Argentina's confirmed COVID-19 cases top 5,000 as lockdown stalls spread

People wearing face masks as a protection against the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) walk in the Villa 31 slum, in Buenos Aires, Argentina May 5, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s confirmed cases of the novel coronavirus topped 5,000 on Tuesday, according to a daily health ministry report, though they remain far below the level of large neighboring countries Chile, Brazil and Peru.

The health ministry said confirmed cases of COVID-19 infections rose by 134 to 5,020, while fatalities climbed to 264 versus 260 in the evening report on Monday. Nearby Peru recorded a far higher 50,000 confirmed cases earlier on Tuesday.

Argentina has managed to stall the rise in new cases with a strict nationwide lockdown that allows people in major cities to leave their homes only for essential work, emergencies or to buy groceries and other household necessities.

Smaller urban centers have eased some curbs, but remain under a nationwide quarantine until at least May 10. The lockdown has hit the South American country’s economy hard, with the government now eyeing a 6.5% economic contraction this year.

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Himani Sarkar

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