Argentina talks hit as IMF delegate tests positive for Covid

Buenos Aires (AFP) –


Economy Minister Martin Guzman and other Argentine officials were placed in preventive isolation Sunday after a member of a visiting IMF mission tested positive for Covid-19, the government said.

The International Monetary Fund team has been in Buenos Aires since Tuesday for talks on a new rescue package for the crisis-ravaged South American country.

"All of those who had meetings with the IMF team are isolated and will be tested according to established protocols," the government said in a statement, adding that none of the Argentine officials had shown symptoms of the disease.

IMF spokesman Gerry Rice said earlier in New York that one of the eight members of the IMF mission had tested positive during routine tests on Saturday. He said the member would be tested again on Sunday to confirm the initial finding.

"Upon learning the results," Rice said, "the team immediately informed the Argentine authorities and went into self-isolation."

"The IMF team in coordination with the authorities also initiated contact tracing protocols to advise all persons with whom the IMF team met over the past week about the positive test," he said.

"The team will continue its work and will hold any further meetings virtually."

Rice said the affected IMF team member was asymptomatic and feeling well.

Among the Argentine officials who were self-isolating was Central Bank chief Miguel Pesce and Congress speaker Sergio Massa.

President Alberto Fernandez has been in self-isolation since Wednesday after an official with whom he had contact tested positive for Covid-19.

Argentina's 44 million population has been badly hit by the coronavirus, with more than 1.3 million cases and more than 35,300 deaths.