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Member of IMF team in Argentina tests positive for COVID, meetings to continue virtually

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - A member of the International Monetary Fund mission in Argentina has tested positive for COVID-19, forcing the team to isolate and conduct next week’s meetings online, the IMF said in a statement on Sunday.

The mission arrived in Argentina last week to discuss a new financing program with officials of the South American nation, which is battling a tenacious outbreak of coronavirus that has further slammed its already ailing economy.

The IMF said in the statement that each member of team that arrived from Washington, as well as local staff, was tested for the virus on Saturday, according to Argentine protocols. Only one tested positive, but all would isolate and take another test as a precaution.

Meanwhile, meetings would continue, the IMF said. “The team will continue its work and hold the meetings it had planned virtually,” the statement said.

A spokesman for Argentina’s Central Bank said officials that had met with the IMF team in recent days would also isolate and take tests, but none had shown symptoms of the virus.

Argentina is looking to update its $57 billion IMF agreement struck two years ago that failed to prevent a slide into recession and the country’s ninth sovereign default.

Reporting by Cassandra Garrison; writing by Dave Sherwood; Editing by Leslie Adler