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Argentina loosens COVID-19 restrictions, will ease open borders

·1 min read

BUENOS AIRES, Sept 21 (Reuters) - Argentina on Tuesday unveiled plans to ease COVID-19 pandemic restrictions, including loosening strict border controls, allowing more commercial activities and getting rid of the mandatory wearing of face masks outdoors.

Health Minister Carla Vizzotti said the easing of rules would allow more economic, industrial and commercial activities in closed places, while maintaining prevention measures.

"We are in very positive moments, we know that the pandemic has not ended, we have to maintain care," said Vizzotti at a press conference in Buenos Aires. "We are moving towards the full recovery of activities."

Argentina, after a slow start to its vaccination campaign, has now administered over 49 million doses, including fully inoculating over 20 million people out of its some 45 million population. Cases and fatalities have fallen sharply.

The pandemic has hit the country hard with some 5.24 million confirmed cases and has hurt the popularity of center-left President Alberto Fernandez, who was recently forced into a Cabinet reshuffle after a bruising primary election defeat.

(Reporting by Eliana Raszewski; Writing by Adam Jourdan, Editing by Louise Heavens)