July 8, 2009 / 6:23 PM / 10 years ago

Argentina bourse, banks to close Friday due to flu

BUENOS AIRES, July 8 (Reuters) - Argentine financial markets and banks will close on Friday as part of government efforts to fight an outbreak of the H1N1 flu strain that has killed 70 people, officials said on Wednesday.

The government stopped short of declaring a national holiday on Friday, but it gave civil servants the day off and encouraged private companies and other institutions to do the same.

Argentina has a national holiday on Thursday.

The stock exchange, the main bond market and banks will remain closed, officials at the bourses and leading banking associations said.

President Cristina Fernandez has sought to halt the spread of the virus in the Southern Hemisphere winter by closing schools, giving pregnant workers extended leave and allocating emergency funding.

Local theaters have decided to temporarily shut their doors, while Brazilian airline Gol (GOLL4.SA) said on Wednesday it had seen a sharp drop in passengers on flights to Argentina.

Buenos Aires and its suburbs have been worst affected by the outbreak of the H1N1 virus, which emerged in Mexico earlier this year.

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