BUENOS AIRES, May 22 (Xinhua) -- Argentina on Saturday entered a phase of strict lockdown which will last until May 30 to slow the spread of COVID-19.
The decision was made through a presidential decree published on Saturday in the Official Gazette, and includes the restriction of movement from 6:00 p.m. to 6:00 a.m. and the suspension of all non-essential activities.
About 11,500 troops were deployed throughout the Buenos Aires Metropolitan Area to ensure compliance with the restrictions.
The government announced that, between May 22 and 30, all in-person social, economic, educational, religious and sports activities are suspended, with only essential businesses allowed to remain open.
"We have already been having controls for several weeks. Now they are going to be more intense, 24 hours a day, which requires a greater effort," Security Minister Sabina Frederic told state news agency Telam.
Frederic said that residents should stay "with their family group and not break that bubble so as not to amplify the number of contacts, which is what accelerates the number of sick people."
As of Saturday, Argentina had registered 3,514,683 cases and 73,688 deaths from COVID-19, according to the latest report from the health ministry.