Spanish – In Argentina, it is an open secret that President Alberto Fernández plans to extend mandatory quarantine in response to the coronavirus pandemic (COVID-19). The curfew was initially imposed until March 31, but the hypothetical extension might be until mid-April.
So far, the numbers in the country, compared to other nations, are not entirely discouraging: five fatalities and 301 infections. But the diagnosis is centralized and too few tests are available. So the number of positives is not very credible. Nevertheless, the government’s measures were extreme, similar to those in Italy or Spain after the outbreak. A report received by the president from the Ministry of Health warned of a hypothetical scenario with more than two million infected. This would be a catastrophe for Argentina’s health system. President Fernández said that between the economy and life, he chooses life.
The writer Ricardo Manuel Rojas, who has had a long career in the Argentine justice system, warns that given the grave economic situation in the country, an extreme quarantine will also end up causing fatalities.
The classical liberal intellectual posted something on social media that sparked controversy:
“They have adopted measures that prevent people from working and producing. They are not concerned with the scale of the disaster they generate, and then, as a remedy, they promise to distribute money that they do not have. They are already more harm than the virus,” he said on his Facebook account.
In an exclusive conversation with the PanAm Post, Rojas warned, “It is very dangerous to allow a government to encroach on individual rights by invoking situations of emergency when such danger is not clear and imminent. The problem with the measures to combat this virus is that they do not seem to have contemplated the consequences. In other words, no cost-benefit analysis has been done We are only seeing what we are trying to avoid, but not what we will have to pay, which can also be measured in human lives.”
According to the Argentine lawyer, since the closure of the borders, the possibility of the virus entering has been practically neutralized. So it is a question of handling what is already inside the country. So the impact that the coronavirus can have on a completely isolated country “is mere speculation.”
“When a country on the verge of bankruptcy is forced to suspend all production and trade, the consequences will be devastating and will lead to deaths. And to make matters worse, the government, as always, wants to distribute money that it does not have, in an unequal way, to alleviate the problems it has itself created. I am very concerned about the ease with which individual rights have been subdued in the name of a potential health hazard, and the jubilation with which these measures are widely implemented,” he warned.
Rojas believes that it is essential for the government to evaluate all the consequences of its actions before making decisions.
The fifth fatality
The last confirmed death in the country in the last hours is a 71-year-old man who died in the city of Mar del Plata. He had been traveling in Spain and returned to Argentina on March 9.