Argentine President Alberto Fernández led a ceremony this Sunday (27) in honor of the more than 92,000 victims of the coronavirus in the country. The event, with musical performances, took place at the Kirchner Cultural Center, in the center of the Argentine capital.
Fernández and other politicians such as the provincial governor of Buenos Aires, Axel Kicillof, and the head of the municipal government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta, were present in mourning attire. There were representatives of doctors, nurses, first responders, and indigenous and Afro-Argentinian communities. The Vice-President, Cristina Kirchner, was not present.
The ceremony began with children lighting candles in the main hall of the cultural entity. Fernández gave a short speech in which he called the pandemic a “cataclysm”. He thanked the professionals deemed essential “who did their job when many had to stay at home”. He said the virus has not yet expired and called for “collective efforts” to overcome it.
Then, to the sound of the tango “Adios Nonino”, by Argentinian composer Astor Piazzolla, those present placed flowers next to the candles on a small altar dedicated to the victims.
Argentina is facing a difficult time in the pandemic, with an upward curve in cases. Last week, Fernández imposed even more restrictions on international travel, in a bid to contain the entry of the delta variant into the country.
As of December, only Argentinian or foreign residents can enter the country. Now, in addition, until July 9, there is a rule that only allows entry of 600 people per day, causing the cancellation of several flights. There is also a new provision that requires the mandatory 14-day quarantine on arrival to be carried out at accommodation hotels for travelers who test positive for coronavirus on arrival.
Fernández has been criticized by the opposition for the shortage of vaccines in the country. So far, only 34.5% of the population has received the first dose of the immunizing agent, and only 8.6% both. The Argentine government has contracts to receive three vaccines: Russian Sputnik V, Chinese Sinopharm and AstraZeneca, made in partnership between Mexico and Argentina.
However, delays in the delivery of drugs, especially those from the Russian laboratory Gamaleya, jeopardize the country’s vaccination campaign. The more than 6 million Argentines who took the first dose still do not know when they will take the second. Of these, more than 300,000 have already passed the 90-day deadline to receive the immunizing agent.