With 745 fatalities, Argentina hits new one-day COVID-19 death record

BUENOS AIRES, May 18 (Reuters) - Argentina reported a record one-day coronavirus death toll of 745 on Tuesday as the South American country gets hit by a second wave of infections that brought the number of positive tests recorded in a 24-hour period to 35,543.

Since the pandemic began in the first quarter of 2020, Argentina has confirmed a total 3.371 million infections and 71,771 deaths.

According to data compiled by Reuters, the daily average of infections and deaths reported by Argentina places the country among the worst five countries in the world.

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"This greater number of cases is a consequence of people behaving as if nothing was happening," President Alberto Fernandez told local radio, calling for people to step up protective measures like mask wearing and social distancing.

The president signed a decree a few weeks ago mandating new restrictions on leaving home and the suspension of face-to-face school classes in the areas with the highest number of infections. The measures are set to expire on Friday, but the government may decide to extend current lockdown rules.

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Reporting by Eliana Raszewski, writing by Hugh Bronstein; Editing by Cynthia Osterman

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