Argentina posts record 3,604 daily COVID-19 cases

FILE PHOTO: Outbreak of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Buenos Aires, Argentina

BUENOS AIRES (Reuters) - Argentina posted a daily record of 3,604 confirmed cases of COVID-19 as the South American country grapples with rising infections that are threatening its early success in stalling the spread of the virus.

The sharp rise, the first time daily cases topped 3,000, took the total number to 87,030, fivefold the number at the start of June, though still well below case loads in hard-hit neighbors Brazil, Chile and Peru.

Argentina's center-left government imposed a strict lockdown in mid-March, which has been loosened in most of the country but was extended and reinforced late last month in and around Buenos Aires, the capital, due to a spike in cases.

Argentina's death toll from the pandemic stands at 1,694.

The impact of the virus has hammered the South American country's economy, already in recession for two years and grappling to solve a painful debt crisis. Economists forecast a 12% economic contraction for 2020.

(Reporting by Marta Lopez; Writing by Adam Jourdan; Editing by Leslie Adler)