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Health

Argentina daily COVID-19 cases top 10,000 for first time

FILE PHOTO: A health care worker takes a sun bath in an ambulance outside the Dr. Alberto Antranik Eurnekian hospital, in Ezeiza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina posted a record daily rise of 10,550 COVID-19 cases on Wednesday, the health ministry said, taking the total caseload to 370,188 as the country struggles to rein in the spread of infections while trying to ease open its crisis-hit economy.

The grains producer, which imposed a strict lockdown in March that initially helped slow the spread of the virus, is now fast catching up with other hard-hit countries in the region, including neighbor Chile where new infections have slowed.

Latin America has become the epicenter of the global pandemic, with the highest number of infections and deaths, while the region’s economy is set to plunge sharply this year pushing millions of people into poverty.

The nightly report showed there had been 276 new COVID-19 fatalities in the 24-hour period since the previous evening’s count, taking the total to 7,839.

The government of center-left President Alberto Fernandez extended lockdown restrictions in and around capital city Buenos Aires until the end of August. The area has the highest number of infections.

For a graphic: Argentina COVID-19 infections, click

Reporting by Adam Jourdan and Eliana Raszewski; Editing by Aurora Ellis

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