Infections spike in heart of Buenos Aires, worrying authorities
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by Maria Lorente
One of Buenos Aires’ poorest and most densely populated neighborhoods has shown a spike in the number of COVID-19 infections, worrying authorities hoping to ease the Argentine capital’s two-month lockdown later this month.
The number of infections in the infamous Villa 31 slum, a teeming central district synonymous with violence and poverty, soared from one case at the end of April to 511 by late Tuesday.
To make matters worse, large parts of the barrio were left without water for eight days as people tried to resist the pandemic. Many see it as a continuation of decades of government neglect and discrimination.
“We are screwed because our water has been cut off. I am a domestic worker and I lost my job,” said one resident, 37-year-old Maria Chaile.
In Buenos Aires, only a fraction of the population — mostly essential workers — are out on the streets every day.
But in Villa 31, dozens of people like Chaile go about their business as though the pandemic were not happening.
The area’s shops, small restaurants and hairdressers are open, in contrast to businesses in rest of the city. (AFP)