LONDON 

Argentina’s official death toll from the coronavirus surpassed 100,000 on Wednesday as the pandemic puts further strains on the country’s struggling economy.  

The Health Ministry announced 614 deaths in the last 24 hours, taking the country’s total number of fatalities since the start of the pandemic to 100,250. 

The ministry also announced 19,697 new coronavirus cases in the country. 

President Alberto Fernandez described every COVID death as a “great regret” in a speech last week while also stressing the importance of Argentina’s vaccination campaign. 

“I guarantee you that we are not going to stop vaccinating every Argentine man and every Argentine woman in these months,” he said.

Despite a fall in coronavirus cases following last month’s peak, overall, Argentina has been hit hard in terms of deaths per capita and cases due to the virus. 

To date, Argentina has vaccinated 20,605,189 of its roughly 45 million citizens with at least a single vaccine dose, according to the Health Ministry, while 5,113,342 people have received two vaccine doses. 

Throughout the vaccination campaign, Argentina has largely relied on Russia’s Sputnik V vaccine, China’s Sinopharm vaccine and the British-Swedish AstraZeneca/Oxford vaccine. 

Due to the health risks from COVID-19 variants spreading across the country, Argentina is currently restricting and capping the number of nationals and residents able to enter the country. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has also impacted Argentina’s economy, which has been in deep recession since 2018. 

Argentina recorded its first coronavirus case on March 3, 2020, after a 43-year-old man arrived in the country after a two-week vacation in northern Italy. 

On March 7, 2020, Argentina registered its first coronavirus death, a 64-year-old man who had travelled to Paris and had other health conditions. 

On March 20, 2020, President Fernandez imposed a strict lockdown. 

He acknowledged that there would be economic consequences for Argentina but said “faced with the dilemma of preserving the economy or life, we do not hesitate — we choose life.” 

The capital Buenos Aires and surrounding areas were hard-hit by COVID-19 initially, although the virus spread across the nation, impacting areas with fewer resources, intensive care units and health professionals the hardest. 

Argentina experienced one of the longest coronavirus-lockdowns worldwide in 2020. 

The country received its first vaccine shipment towards the end of December last year. 

In 2021, during the second wave of infections, as COVID cases began to increase, the country has tightened lockdown controls in some areas. 

To date, Argentina has registered more than 4,702,657 cases and 100,250 deaths, while 4,326,403 patients have recovered.

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