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Argentine truckers stranded at Chilean border by slow COVID testing -Breaking


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(Reuters) – Thousands were stuck on the Chilean border by truck drivers from Argentina Saturday, due to slow COVID-19 test results. Chile is currently facing its second transport delay crisis.

According to the Argentinean Federation of Business Entities for Cargo Transport, more than 3,000 trucks were stranded at Cristo Redentor in Mendoza since Jan. 21.

Long waits have put drivers as well as some trucks under severe scrutiny. Refrigerator units in trucks must be kept running to ensure that cargoes are at the right temperature.

Junior Cesar (a Brazilian truck driver) said that this is becoming an issue. His truck was parked near the Chilean border in Uspallata. “The engines are running day and night and they’re starting to fail and affect the cargo.”

The drivers were frustrated and waited in their trucks while they cooked, sharing what food they had. They used buckets and a nearby toilet that costs 300 Argentine pesos ($3) for each use.

“I’ve been here for two weeks,” said Ruben Soza, a truck driver from Mendoza. “I have a fridge unit, as you can see with garlic and gasoline, but it isn’t enough to operate the refrigerator unit.”

The problem is similar at Chile’s northern frontier in Tambo Quemado, where Bolivian drivers face long lines for COVID-19 testing.

The FADEEAC has asked Argentina’s foreign ministry to intervene and try to prevent further delays and minimize the economic losses, which according to FADEEAC estimates add up to $700 a day.

On Friday, Chile’s health ministry reported 26,727 new COVID-19 cases. Argentina reported 63,884.

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