Uruguay, a country that has already been an example in Latin America in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, currently has the highest number of new daily cases per capita in the world.
According to the AFP news agency’s report, the country has recorded around 1370 new infections per 100,000 inhabitants in the last 14 days, while no other nation has exceeded 1,000 daily contagions per 100,000 inhabitants on this period, according to statistics compiled on the official database – Brazil had 335.65 cases per 100,000 inhabitants on Tuesday (13).
On Monday (12), the Uruguayan government recorded the highest number of deaths in 24 hours since the start of the health crisis in March 2020, with 71 deaths from Covid-19. The country of 3.5 million inhabitants already has around 149,000 cases and 1,595 victims of the virus.
The increase in contagions is endangering the country’s health system. According to a bulletin from the Uruguayan Society of Intensive Care Medicine released on Monday, 77% of the country’s ICUs (Intensive Care Unit) are occupied. Of this total, 53% come from patients infected with Covid-19.
Once a regional example of its successful management of the pandemic, the country is going through its worst time of health crisis. President Luis Lacalle Pou has however hesitated to tighten existing measures on the grounds that his government does not believe in “a police state”.
The country, which has never implemented a mandatory quarantine, has suspended face-to-face classes at least until May. Public performances are also prohibited and some non-essential public offices are closed.
In contrast, commercial establishments in all sectors, including bars and restaurants, remain open.
Tuesday evening (13), a loud noise could be heard in several districts of the capital Montevideo, calling for more measures to contain contagions. The call for hitters did not have the participation of any political organization and was launched by social networks, through the hashtag #UruguayCacerolea.
So far, however, the administration appears to have staked its tokens on its vaccination program, which began on March 1.
According to data from Johns Hopkins University (in the United States), approximately 214,000 people received both doses of the vaccine, which is only 6.21% of the country’s population.
More than a million doses were applied and 26% of the population received at least one dose of the immunizer – the country bought vaccines from Pfizer and Chinese Sinovac, maker of Coronavac.
Last week, Lacalle Pou asked people to count at least two weeks after the second dose of the vaccine to relax precautionary measures. “The belief that only the first dose works helps circulate the virus,” he said.
The situation in Brazil is also of concern to the Uruguayan government – the two Brazilian variants are already circulating in the neighboring country.
Last month, the government started vaccinating Brazilians with dual citizenship at the border with Rio Grande do Sul. The vaccines, however, are only intended for residents of the Uruguayan part, having a fixed residence, or people who work in the country but live in Brazilian cities.