The head of the Buenos Aires Government, Horacio Rodríguez Larreta speaks during a press conference updating information regarding the corona virus in the City of Buenos Aires on Monday, March 9, 2020. (Credit: Adrian Escandar)

“Let’s grit our teeth for these weeks that are going to be the most difficult,” said Horacio Rodríguez Larreta at the end.

The head of Government led this morning the virtual meeting of the expanded cabinet before dozens of officials of the Buenos Aires administration on the eve of the meeting that he will hold this Thursday together with Alberto Fernandez Y Axel Kicillof and in which the model of the new phase of quarantine will be defined, much stricter than the current one due to the increase in infections and concern about the occupation of intensive care beds.

“Contagion data is growing significantly. The trend is clear upwards. The use of beds grew. We are trying to maintain a balance of coordination with the Province and the Nation “, the head of government was sincere, according to what this means of Buenos Aires officials could reconstruct who heard his message, followed by Fernán Quirós, Diego Santilli, María Migliore and Felipe Miguel.

Rodríguez Larreta’s phrase reflects the effort to maintain ties with the Casa Rosada and with the Buenos Aires government, which, despite constant internal pressure and the different views regarding the administration of the health crisis, remained tense during these months but durable. “The newspapers today give it as a fact, we are going to continue seeing the data to make decisions,” he warned in reference to the joint announcement of the next few hours, which, as it transpired, provides for strong restrictions on the movement of people in the Metropolitan Area for a period of fifteen days.

This morning, political officials were still debating what to do with public transportation.

Alberto Fernández, Axel Kicillof and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the previous announcement of the extension of the quarantine, in Olivos (Presidency)

Alberto Fernández, Axel Kicillof and Horacio Rodríguez Larreta in the previous announcement of the extension of the quarantine, in Olivos (Presidency)

“We have all been sleeping very little for four months, we must make the last effort”, highlighted, for his part, the Buenos Aires Minister of Health. “The last effort” seems to establish itself, in that sense, as the concept to be crushed in these hours both by Buenos Aires officials and by nationals and Buenos Aires, in the face of social fatigue due to the almost 100 days of compulsory isolation and in the face of the imminence of the announcement of greater restrictions.

According to Quirós, the speed of infections in the City “is very contained”: he said that the reproduction rate – “R” – is 1.1. “Today is 10 sick and 11 in five days”, exemplified. He added that out of 400 beds in the public sector there are 194 occupied. Inside doors, the collaborators of the head of Government insist that the cases of coronavirus in the Buenos Aires territory grow in a “controlled” way, and that the concern now, and for days, is focused on Greater Buenos Aires.

“It is of no use to us if the Province catches fire”, they had said in the surroundings of Rodríguez Larreta last Friday night, after the meeting he held in La Plata with Kicillof and the Buenos Aires ministers Daniel Gollan Y Sergio Berni, and in the company of Santilli and his Minister of Health.

Any overflow in the suburbs directly impacts the City, and vice versa. Hence the decision to move towards a stricter quarantine, despite some reluctance on the part of City officials.

In which there was an agreement was to advance in the deferred payment of bonuses for state employees with higher salaries, although with a difference in the amounts: while the Province imposed it for salaries above $ 80 thousand, The Buenos Aires administration devised a split scheme for salaries above $ 50,000, although with less delay than for salaries above $ 80,000. The Casa Rosada implemented the same scheme.

The authorities still debate what to do with the public transport of the AMBA (Adrián Escandar)

The authorities still debate what to do with the public transport of the AMBA (Adrián Escandar)

“That the cases increase gives us great concern. But the light is also beginning to be seen at the end of the road “, remarked on the end of his harangue the head of Government, again on the health crisis and the phase that is approaching.

Earlier, Rodríguez Larreta led the cabinet meeting without extension to lower-ranking officials in which ideas were exchanged on how to face the next stage of confinement.

The head of government, like Kicillof and the President, knows that the request for the “last effort” brings with it a growing social bad mood. And there is still debate about what activities to restrict and what to do with minors going out and exercising outdoors, questioned for weeks by his Buenos Aires colleague and even by the President himself.

I kept reading:

A Kicillof advisor questioned the number of reported coronavirus cases in the city of Buenos Aires

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