Argentina's virus deaths hit 30,000

Argentina's seven-day rolling average daily death toll of 376 is the fifth highest in the world.
Argentina's seven-day rolling average daily death toll of 376 is the fifth highest in the world.

Argentina's COVID-19 fatalities have risen beyond 30,000, a grim milestone for a country once considered a Latin American model for countering the pandemic but now battling one of the world's highest daily death tolls.

Argentina initiated a strict lockdown in March, which is still partially in place, but has seen confirmed coronavirus cases soar to 1.13 million with 30,071 deaths, according to latest official data.

The current seven-day rolling average daily death toll of 376 is the fifth highest in the world behind only the United States, India, Brazil and Mexico.

Its "positive rate" from testing has also been sky-high.

"The pandemic is just terrible," said Basilio Benitez, 67, a painter.

"Thank God I haven't been affected but I know people, my age group who we used meet to play soccer together, they are gone now due to the pandemic."

Buenos Aires and the surrounding area suffered the brunt of infections early, though the virus has now spread out in the country's interior, straining areas with fewer resources and health personnel.

Intensive care units in the country are at 64.4 per cent capacity, with some provincial hospitals straining.

"There are places that are working at almost 100 per cent. Rosario, Cordoba, Rio Negro, Neuquen, Mendoza," said Arnaldo Dubin, an intensive care physician in La Plata in Buenos Aires province.

"Eventually, the physical and technological resources can be obtained but what is not going to change is the health personnel. Training these personnel takes years," Dubin said.

The death toll represents a grim reality for Argentines who widely adopted tough restrictions imposed by government but are fatigued after seven months of controls.

The government has relaxed many restrictions, though domestic and international travel is still tightly restricted.

Australian Associated Press