Argentine leader's test shows COVID-19; awaits confirmation

Argentine leader's test shows COVID-19; awaits confirmation

Virus Outbreak Argentina
Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez speaks during Mexican President Andrés Manuel Lopez Obrador's daily, morning news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. (Photo: AP/Marco Ugarte)

BUENOS AIRES: Argentine President Alberto Fernández says he had an initial positive test for COVID-19, despite having been vaccinated in January.

Fernández sent a tweet early Saturday saying he took a quick antigen test for the virus after feeling a headache and experiencing a fever of 37.3 degrees Celsius. He said he otherwise has light symptoms, is isolating and is “physically well.”

He said he is awaiting a confirmation of the result using a more rigorous PCR test.

The president, who turned 62 on Friday, received a dose of the Sputnik V vaccine on Jan 21 and a second dose a few days later.

None of the vaccines used against the new coronavirus have been shown to completely eliminate infections among those inoculated, though studies show they sharply reduce the rate of infection and its severity.

The Russian Gamaleya Institute that produced the vaccine tweeted that it wished the president a quick recovery, and said the vaccine has a 91.6 per cent rate of effectiveness against infection and 100 per cent against critical cases.

“If the infection is confirmed and occurred, the vaccination assures a rapid recovery without severe symptoms,” it said.

Officials said several people were also in isolation after recent close contact with the president, including his spokesman, the secretary-general of the presidency and the head of his party in the lower house of congress, Máximo Kirchner, the son of Vice President - and former President - Cristina Fernández.

Argentina recently tightened border restrictions due to an upsurge in cases. The nation of some 45 million people has recorded nearly 2.4 million infections, with 56,000 deaths. It has administed more than 4 million doses of vaccine against the disease.

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Source: AP/nh