BUENOS AIRES • Argentina's coronavirus cases hit three million, as medical workers said hospitals were at full capacity despite tougher measures to bring down the spread of infections.
The country's health ministry said on Sunday that there were 11,394 new cases over the previous 24-hour period, bringing up the grim new milestone, with 156 new deaths taking fatalities to 64,252.
President Alberto Fernandez's government this week unveiled tougher restrictions as a second wave of infections has battered the country, filling up intensive care units and setting daily records for cases and deaths.
But medical staff said it was not enough. "People need to be a little more aware and know the hospitals are full and health personnel are exhausted," said Ms Luciana Berti, 41, a surgical assistant.
The South American grains producer, which has gone through three straight years of recession, exacerbated by the pandemic, is balancing the need to stem the spread of the virus while protecting a fragile economic recovery.
Ms Marcela Cid, owner of a business on the outskirts of Buenos Aires, said Argentinians were increasingly "locked into a situation" that, while necessary, was of little help to anyone trying to move beyond the pandemic.
Paediatrician Carlos Kambourian said the key would be speeding up a stalled vaccination campaign. Otherwise, he warned, hospitals would be overwhelmed.
Intensive care beds are around 68.1 per cent occupied nationally, government data show.
"Today the health system does not support one more patient," Dr Kambourian said. "It is already overflowing."
He added: "We can continue to extend measures every 15 days from here until two years from now if we don't do what needs to be done, which is to test and vaccinate, test and vaccinate."