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'Everything is uncertain': Coronavirus rages in Argentina, cases top 700,000

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BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s coronavirus infections topped 700,000 on Saturday with new daily infections and deaths among the top five globally, Reuters data showed, despite seven months of quarantine that have ravaged the frail economy.

Argentina reported a rolling seven-day average of 11,082 new cases daily, behind only India, the United States, France and Brazil, all countries with far larger populations than the South American nation. Argentina’s average daily death toll this week hit 365.

Health officials on Saturday reported 702,484 total infections since March and 15,543 deaths. On Friday, the province of Buenos Aires announced it had underestimated the death toll from COVID-19 by 3,523, outraging many Argentines already weary from months of lockdown that had failed to slam the breaks on the pandemic.

The additional deaths from Buenos Aires province were not incorporated in those figures, the health ministry said.

Argentina, which was already in the grips of a devastating economic crisis, was among the first countries in Latin America to implement a strict quarantine. But a gradual loosening over time and the spread of cases from the capital to the provinces have seen cases skyrocket.

Carlos Landa, a 45-year-old archaeologist from Buenos Aires who contracted coronavirus said he and his partner, who was also infected, had seen their lives turned upside down. Different healthcare coverage meant one was immediately tested, and the other was not.

The virus had exposed once again the perils of the ailing economy and healthcare systems, he said.

“Everything is uncertain,” he said.

Reporting by Lucila Sigal; writing by Dave Sherwood; editing by Grant McCool and Sandra Maler

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