August 14, 2020
1. President Alberto Fernández extended lockdown
Accompanied by the Mayor of the City of Buenos Aires, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, and the Governor of the Province of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, President Alberto Fernández announced the extension of preventive, mandatory and social isolation until August 30th. In the Olivos Residence, the President stated that in Argentina “there is no quarantine” and assured that social gatherings are the cause of the increase in cases. In this sense, the City of Buenos Aires will authorize individual sports and new professional activities. Nationwide, Jujuy, Río Gallegos (Santa Cruz) Río Grande (Tierra del Fuego), Tartagal (Salta), Chamical (La Rioja) and La Rioja (capital) and La Banda (Santiago del Estero) and Santiago (capital) will continue from now on under isolation.
2. President Fernández announces Argentina will produce the Oxford COVID-19 vaccine
President Alberto Fernández announced in a press conference that Argentina will produce the COVID-19 vaccine developed by Swedish biopharmaceutical company AstraZeneca and Oxford University. He made the announcement alongside Minister of Health Ginés González García and Health Accessibility Secretary Carla Vizzotti. Projections show that the country will be able to begin vaccinations in the first half of 2021. Thanks to the financial support from the Fundación Carlos Slim, one dose will cost between USD $3 and $4. Minister González García also announced that the Argentine government is working with another potential vaccine provider, but that the Oxford project has progressed the most. The president applauded the cooperation between the public and private sectors, as well as Argentina and Mexico – the two countries that will produce the vaccine for Latin America. The announcement means Argentina will have access to the vaccine three months before other countries. At-risk groups and health workers will have priority access to the vaccine.
3. Argentina will become a member of the International Contact Group on Venezuela
The Ministry of Foreign Relations, International Trade and Worship announced that the Argentine Republic accepted an invitation to participate in the International Contact Group on Venezuela (GIC) as a member, in a bid to seek peaceful and democratic solution to the crisis confronting Venezuela. In line with the official announcement, the Argentine government decided to focus efforts on the work of the GIC, convinced of the positive role the group could have on providing political and humanitarian responses to the South American country. The GIC now has Argentina, Bolivia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, the E.U., France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Panama, Portugal, Spain, Sweden, the U.K. and Uruguay as members in an effort to facilitate provision of humanitarian aid to Venezuela, particularly in the context of the expansion of COVID-19.
4. The Senate approved the tax moratorium and the budget expansion
The Senate returned to virtual sessions and converted into law the tax moratorium bill, which had already been approved in the Chamber of Deputies; the project obtained 41 positive votes from Frente de Todos against 28 negative votes from Juntos por el Cambio, which questioned the article that enables bankrupt companies to access the moratorium. On the other hand, the Upper House also approved the budget expansion project, which foresees an increase of almost AR $ 1 trillion, implying a 33% increase compared to what was estimated at the beginning of the year. In this case, the initiative received 67 positive votes and 1 negative.
5. July inflation at 1.9%
The Argentine statistical agency (INDEC) released its consumer price index – the country’s official measure of inflation – for the month of July. The index revealed a 1.9% increase in the month of July and a 12-month rate of 42.4%. According to the report, the sharpest price increases were observed in the domestic appliances sector (+3.9%), culture and recreation (+3.3%), and clothing and footwear (+3.3%).