Argentina's health minister virus positive

Maximilian HeathAAP
Carla Vizzotti has entered quarantine after testing positive to COVID-19.
Camera IconCarla Vizzotti has entered quarantine after testing positive to COVID-19.

Argentina's new health minister Carla Vizzotti has tested positive for COVID-19, a week after her predecesor resigned following reports VIPs in the South American nation jumped the line to receive vaccination shots.

Vizzotti, who replaced former minister Gines Gonzalez Garcia, said on social media she would quarantine for several days as she recovers.

President Alberto Fernandez's chief of staff Santiago Cafiero said he too would quarantine as a precaution after recent meetings with Vizzotti.

Argentines have been growing more frustrated with a slow-moving vaccination program wrought with scandal.

Since December, Argentina has been using primarily Russia's Sputnik V vaccine to inoculate frontline health workers and deliveries have lagged far behind initial projections.

The country has also recently received deliveries from Chinese pharmaceutical company Sinopharm, as well as the Indian Serum Institute of COVISHIELD, its brand name for the AstraZeneca vaccine.

But those latest deliveries were quickly overshadowed by reports and government statements that revealed family members of prominent politicians had received early vaccinations.

Vizzotti has pledged greater transparency in the program, while the attorney for administrative investigations has opened a file to look into whether there were any abuses of power.

Two Aerolineas Argentinas planes departed for Russia Friday evening to bring Argentina a new batch of Sputnik V vaccines against COVID-19, the state airline said in a statement, inspiring fresh hope.

Argentina, a top global grains producer, has reported 2.1 million cases of COVID-19 since March of 2020, and more than 51,000 deaths from the disease.

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