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Argentina’s President Has Preliminary Positive Virus Test Despite Vaccination

BUENOS AIRES — President Alberto Fernández of Argentina had an initial positive test for Covid-19 and is awaiting the results of a more precise analysis to determine whether he has contracted the coronavirus despite being vaccinated earlier this year.

Mr. Fernández sent a series of tweets early Saturday morning saying he took a quick antigen test after suffering from a “light headache” and having a fever of 99.1 degrees.

The president, who received the test result on his 62d birthday, said he will remain in isolation while waiting for the results of the more rigorous PCR test.

“I am physically well, and although I would have liked to end my birthday without this news, I’m also in good spirits,” the president wrote on Twitter.

an efficacy rate of 91.6 percent, it is fully effective in preventing critical cases.

the institute wrote in a statement on Twitter. “We wish you a quick recovery!”

Word of Mr. Fernández’s test result comes shortly after Argentina tightened its borders amid an upsurge of Covid-19 infections. Several of its neighboring countries, particularly Brazil, are experiencing a sharp increase in cases as new, more contagious variants of the virus engulf the region.

Argentina recently canceled all direct flights with Brazil, Chile and Mexico in an effort to block the new strains.

Argentina was the first country in Latin America to approve the use of the Sputnik V vaccine in late December, but mass inoculations are taking longer than the government had initially predicted amid a global shortage of the vaccine. It has also been administering China’s Sinopharm vaccine and Covishield, the Indian version of the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Of the nation’s 45 million people, 683,771 have received two vaccine doses, and there have been 4.18 million doses injected over all.

Argentina said on March 26 it would delay applying the second dose of the Covid-19 vaccine for three months in an effort to ensure as many people as possible get at least one dose. The country has reported nearly 2.4 million Covid-19 infections and more than 56,000 deaths.

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A New Coronavirus Wave Hits Chile, Despite Vaccine Success

SANTIAGO — Having negotiated early access to tens of millions of doses of Covid-19 vaccines, Chile has been inoculating its residents faster than any other country in the Americas and appears poised to be among the first in the world to reach herd immunity.

But experts say the country’s speedy and efficient vaccination drive — only Israel, the United Arab Emirates and Seychelles have vaccinated a larger share of their populations — gave Chileans a false sense of security and contributed to a sharp spike in new infections and deaths that is overloading the health care system.

The surge in cases, even as more than one third of Chile’s population has received at least the first dose of a Covid-19 vaccine, serves as a cautionary tale for other nations looking to vaccination drives to quickly put an end to the era of beleaguered economies, closed borders, and social distancing. The rise in cases triggered a new set of strict lockdown measures that have restricted mobility for nearly 14 million people.

said in a statement Sunday, arguing that the current state of the pandemic was not conducive to holding a vote that was “democratic, inclusive and safe.”

While more than six million of the country’s 18 million people have been vaccinated, a surge in infections has left intensive care units operating with few beds to spare and the system at a breaking point.

Last week Chile recorded 7,626 new Covid-19 cases in a single day, a record, and the pace of new infections has doubled in the past month. The main hospital in the coastal city of Valparaíso had to create an overflow morgue over the weekend. Health officials in Chile have identified cases of new variants that were first identified in the United Kingdom and Brazil.

created a permit system for Chileans to go on summer vacation.

he said in early March.

Several other countries in the region are struggling to rein in contagion. In Brazil, hospitals in several states have waiting lists of gravely ill patients. Doctors in Paraguay say they are facing shortages of basic drugs as the virus spreads briskly.

Chile is better equipped than any of its neighbors to get the virus under control. Rodrigo Yáñez, a senior foreign ministry official who oversaw the vaccine procurement program, said Chile was successful in securing a large quantity of doses soon after manufacturing began by acting decisively and early.

The government has relied mainly on the Chinese-made CoronaVac and on Pfizer’s shot, but it has also placed orders from other suppliers to ramp up the pace.

Mr. Yáñez said the government’s campaign to encourage Chileans to get vaccinated has been effective at reducing the percentage of people who have expressed reservations about the vaccines in public opinion polls.

“We expect that the effect of the vaccines will be felt by mid-April,” he said in an interview.

Pascale Bonnefoy reported from Santiago. Ernesto Londoño reported from Rio de Janeiro.

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