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World News

Argentina's coronavirus death toll leaps above 20,000 as new data added

FILE PHOTO: A cemetery worker wearing protective equipment digs a new grave at the Flores cemetery, amid the outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Buenos Aires, Argentina August 13, 2020. REUTERS/Agustin Marcarian/File Photo

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina’s coronavirus death toll leapt above 20,000 on Thursday as a large number of previously untallied fatalities were added to the total, emphasizing how the country has gone from regional role model to one of the worst-hit in the world.

The South American nation, which slowed the spread of the virus with a strict lockdown in March, reported 14,001 new COVID-19 cases to take the total confirmed infections to 765,002, one of the 10 highest in the world.

The health ministry added 3,352 deaths, most of which were from a backlog of fatalities from the province of Buenos Aires, taking the total to 20,288, just behind Russia.

The grains producing nation currently has one of the highest positive rates in the region, with confirmed daily cases versus tests topping 50% over the last week. The government has pledged to ramp up testing.

Argentina’s rolling 7-day average of daily cases and fatalities has continued to rise, even as other countries in the region have seen the spread of the virus slow in recent weeks as governments look to reopen their battered economies.

Reporting by Marta Lopez; Writing by Adam Jourdan; editing by Richard Pullin

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