In a serious moment of the pandemic in Uruguay, the news that President Luis Lacalle Pou had negotiated the donation of 50 thousand doses of vaccine from Chinese Sinovac to Conmebol for distribution to participants in their tournaments raised controversy among Uruguayans.
The revelation was made by the president of the South American football entity, Paraguayan Alejandro Domínguez, who said Lacalle Pou’s role was “crucial” in mediating with the Chinese laboratory.
It was not only the Uruguayan chief executive who acted in the transaction. Also the secretary of the presidency, Álvaro Delgado, the national sports secretary, Sebastián Bauzá, the Uruguayan ambassador to China, Fernando Lugris, and the president of the Uruguayan Football Association, Ignacio Alonso.
“The same consideration that you demonstrated with Conmebol could be demonstrated with the department of Canelones,” said the local mayor, Yamandú Orsi, who had only vaccinated 13% of its population with the first dose.
His complaint was echoed by other regional leaders. Apart from Montevideo, the rest of the country only vaccinated 20% of its population with a single dose, on average. The department of Rivera, on the border with Brazil, vaccinated 41% of the population. Montevideo, 62%.
This Monday (11), the coronavirus killed 71 people in the country, a record since the start of the pandemic. Uruguay is today the country with the most cases per million inhabitants in the region, surpassing Brazil.
Cases have been on the rise since circulation of the Manaus and UK variants was detected. The country has occupied 70% of its intensive care beds.
The president’s mediation is linked to a larger plan to make Uruguay a sports hub in the region. The country has offered to host a possible “bubble” for some disputes between the Libertadores and the Copa Sudamericana.
During his visit to Montevideo, Domínguez visited sports facilities and barbecued with officials, despite restrictions on social gatherings in the country.
The visit of the director of Conmebol also takes place at a time when the country is closed to foreigners and non-residents.