No one can enter or leave Loncopué, a town of about 5000 inhabitants located west of Neuquén. This Thursday the authorities decided to block access to the town after they registered two coronavirus deaths and at least 19 infected. They suspect that the disease spread during a birthday barbecue. There are 60 isolated people.
“There are people who did not respect the quarantine and caused us a disaster”, Walter Fonseca, the mayor of the town, affirmed to a local media, where more than 25 percent of the infections in the province are registered.
Suspicions point to a barbecue where a birthday was celebrated. The event, in which 20 people participated, was days after the National Government decreed compulsory isolation.
Of the event, he participated a 64 year old man who died as a result of Covid-19. He would have been infected by close contact on a visit to the provincial capital.
“They got together in a farm area, ate a barbecue and shared a beer or wine from the same bottle”, Fonseca said, who assured that they tracked down all the people who participated in the celebration and isolated them. “Some tested positive and others are still missing, the samples have already been sent to do them,” he added. There are at least 50 neighbors waiting for the results.
Regarding the first fatal victim of coronavirus in Loncopué, the mayor assured that “the virus was brought to his home.” “He was a 68-year-old man with a disability who asked his neighbor, who is currently isolated, to clean a heater, Fonseca related.
The authorities do not rule out that the outbreak had arisen in the town from contact with a person from the neighboring town of Las Lajas. “There are two lines of research: one with people who traveled to Neuquén and another to Las Lajas, where the contagion would have occurred with a person who had been in Chile, “explained the mayor.
Regarding the decision to close the accesses to the town, the Attorney General José Gerez explained that “This is a transitional measure and with exceptions.” Despite the blockade, the passage of trucks with essential supplies to supply the region must be guaranteed, he explained.
Fonseca assured that “it is very difficult” that people comply with the quarantine. “It is not enough with the number of police and security to control the streets,” he said.
“Quarantine must be done accordingly. Do not visit a family member and open the door for them and have a coffee or a mate. There are people who are not aware. And if they are not going to have to understand the hard way, “the mayor stated angrily.
Municipal authorities announced that, starting on Friday, the isolation of the people will be total. The neighbors will be able to go out to buy merchandise and supplies to stock up this Thursday and they will do so in shifts according to the termination of their ID.
Starting Friday, they banned pedestrian and vehicle traffic until Tuesday 14 at 9. From that day on, only one person in the family group will be able to leave from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. to stock up on essential supplies.
They also established the preventive and provisional closure of all arteries with direct entry to Provincial Route N 21 and alternative accesses to the town.
“In no case, while the prohibition of internal circulation lasts in the urban ejido of the town supply trucks may enter the internal streets. As an exceptional measure, the transfer of merchants will be carried out with a special permit granted by the municipal authority, and may be carried out in private vehicles, which must be brought up to the checkpoint at the entrance to the town, “they stated in the letter.
“People who for health reasons must go to health centers, pharmacies and veterinarians or for security reasons to the police station will be exempt from the aforementioned prohibitions,” they reported.