World News

Testing positive: half of Argentina's coronavirus checks yield infection

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s coronavirus “positive rate,” the number of daily infections to the number of tests carried out, has topped 50%, underscoring how much work the South American country has to do to bring the virus under control.

FILE PHOTO: Rodolfo Velazquez, who is a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) patient, rests in his bed in an intensive care unit (ICU), at the Dr. Alberto Antranik Eurnekian hospital, in Ezeiza, on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, Argentina August 21, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian

Health ministry data on Monday showed the country carried out 17,955 tests the day before, when it recorded 9,056 confirmed COVID-19 cases. That indicates a positive rate of 50.4%, one of the highest in the world.

(Graphic: Testing positive - )

Argentina, which was one of the region’s success stories early on with a strict lockdown imposed in March, has seen infections soar in recent months, first gripping the capital Buenos Aires and surrounding areas and now spreading in the provinces.

The country, which has been trying to open its hard-hit economy, has a total of 555,537 confirmed cases, the tenth-highest case load in the world, with 11,412 fatalities.

The proportion of daily infections to tests had been between above 40% since the start of August, but had not quite climbed above half before Sunday. Other countries in the region including Bolivia and Mexico also have sky-high positive rates.

Latin America is the region with the highest number of coronavirus cases and deaths globally, which has pummeled the regional economy, pushing millions below the poverty line.

(Graphic: Argentina COVID-19 infections - )

Reporting by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Paul Simao