March 20, 2020
1. Alberto Fernandez declared a total quarantine
President Alberto Fernandez decreed yesterday, in a press conference, the total quarantine from zero hour today until March 31, to further strengthen the actions against the coronavirus in Argentina, where there are 128 confirmed cases, including three deaths. The president indicated that the rule also has exceptions and reviewed that they contemplate those who work in the national, provincial and municipal governments, in the levels of political leadership, those who work in health, in the security forces and in the Armed Forces and those who work in a series of activities such as the production of food, drugs and fuel, among others. This decision was published today in the Official Gazette under the Decree of Need and Urgency 297/20.
2. Ministers of Economy and Productive Development announce economic interventions
Amidst a tumbling global economy and the declaration of an emergency health decree domestically, Economy Minister Martín Guzmán and Productive Development Minister Matías Kulfas jointly announced several intervention measures in a bid to avoid stagnation, control prices and secure the distribution of essential items. Their ministries took actions that included the exemption of employer contributions for the most affected sectors, an additional ARS $3,1000 (USD $48.84) for recipients of the universal allowance per child and ARS $3,000 (USD $47.26) for those receiving the minimum pension, a structuring of the unemployment insurance program, price controls on a variety of products, flexible credit for industries, extra budget allocations for public works projects, the re-launching of the Procrear housing plan, among others. Regarding foreign trade, the ministries will require prior authorization for the export of consumables and medical equipment the country will need to confront the coronavirus pandemic. Additionally, the government will accelerate the payment of reimbursements for the industrial export sector.
3. Long-distance transport suspended
Transport Minister Mario Meoni announced that long distance transport by bus, rail and air will be suspended beginning Friday at midnight through March 25th. In the Buenos Aires metropolitan area, public transit will only accept seated passengers, long-distance air travel halted, and routes regulated throughout the long weekend. Resolution 64/20 mandated, notably, that national public transit can only take as many passengers as their seated capacity through March 31st, with the measure to be loosened pending recommendations from the Ministry of Health.
4. Provinces take action to curb coronavirus
Chaco went into lockdown and quarantine. Outside of the Buenos Aires metorpolitan area, this province is among the most affected. Santiago del Estero and Santa Fe both closed their borders with Chaco to assist with the isolation measures. The island of Tierra del Fuego has remained isolated since Tuesday, and trade, industry, tourist and recreational activities were suspended. Additionally, non-residents are prohibited from visiting and the border with Chile was closed. La Pampa announced the closure of its borders at Friday midnight. Mendoza has declared mandatory quarantine for all entering the province, in addition to closing the Chilean border. Misiones halted access for all those not residing in the province, and finally Salta prohibited movement in and out of the province after its first positive case. Across the country, supermarkets and schools have closed.
5. Government imposes new non-automatic licensing system
Disposition 5/2020 by the Subsecretariat of Trade Policy and Management established new tariffs for those under the non-automatic licensing system. Moreover, a form for importer information and imported merchandise was also implemented.