Argentina & Covid-19: latest update & what it means for your travels
Graph source: FT.com
Despite battling a sovereign debt crisis and the Covid pandemic simultaneously, Argentina’s president Alberto Fernandez has not shied away from his responsibilities to his people. “You can recover from a drop in the GDP, but you can’t recover from death” remains one of the best responses of any world leader.
Argentina went into lockdown early and remains so until 7th June at the earliest. Very early on, flights to Argentina were banned until September which, at the time, stunned us.
There is decent information being shared by the government which show
500 hundred deaths to date. As is true everywhere, the vast majority of cases are concentrated in and around the metropolis of Buenos Aires. There are fewer than 60 cases in the whole of Patagonia, 7 in the region of Salta. Sparsity of population obviously helps limit spread in a pandemic and outdoors is safer than indoors, there may also be a materially slower transmission rate at altitude.
The graph of deaths is a little tricky to interpret in the case of Argentina, it is showing as a bumpy line rather than the more expected, distinctive spike up and slow downward curve.
What this means for you
We are yet to see any national regulations for hygiene relating to tourism such as Spain and Portugal have prepared but we will be working with partners to make sure that Covid Safe regulations are agreed and applied.
Our degree of confidence in the Argentine response to Covid isn’t great, though our confidence in our partners to do the right thing is high. With this in mind, we feel that it’s probably a destination which we will start to fully operate again from November onwards.
Given that most of our trips are very much concentrated in the wide open spaces of Salta in the north-west, and down along Ruta 40 into Patagonia, we feel that the Covid risks are primarily in Buenos Aires. With this in mind, we would minimise or eliminate time in Buenos Aires – something made fairly easy by the fact that most flights arrive early morning. Connecting straight out to a regional hub such as Salta, Bariloche or El Calafate is a realistic possibility.
We also have a lot of trips which weave across the frontier with Chile so crossing in and out of these neighbouring countries along the remote Patagonian border means you will be very, very far from any known centres of infection.
Space is something which Argentina has in abundance so the countryside can be safely enjoyed. Most of our trips are either private guided or self-drive so hygiene control is straightforward. Meals are usually eaten at your small hotel because they are normally out in the sticks.
With the usual caveat relating to the fact that we have no idea what flying long-haul will look like yet, once in Argentina we think trips will operate substantially as before without material impact to your holiday experience.
For existing bookings we think October is a realistic target for re-start of trips, for new bookings we would suggest considering November at the earliest.