Argentina's Fernandez cancels France trip over COVID-19, Delta fears

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FILE PHOTO: Argentina's President Fernandez speaks during a joint news conference with Spain's PM Sanchez in Madrid

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina's President Alberto Fernandez has canceled a visit to France scheduled for this week amid fears over the spread of the COVID-19 Delta variant and the elevated number of cases of the virus in the South American nation.

Fernandez was expected to participate on June 30 in a forum on gender equality in Paris, invited by French President Emmanuel Macron.

"The health situation in Argentina and in South America has been harmed by a new wave of COVID that continues to affect the political, economic and social life of my people," Fernandez said in a letter to Macron made public on Monday.

Argentina is going through a second wave of the pandemic and is among countries with the highest number of daily cases and deaths in the world. While new cases have started to decline, there are fears over the imminent arrival of the more contagious Delta strain.

The country has registered a total 4.4 million cases, with 92,568 deaths, health ministry data show. The government recently tightened travel restrictions to allow only 600 people per day on flights into the country.

(Reporting by Nicolás Misculin; Editing by Dan Grebler)

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