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Uruguay hailed for beating COVID, now losing control

COLONIA DEL SACRAMENTO, Uruguay – The Uruguayan government has been hailed as one of the best COVID-19 crisis managers in the world. Despite being located between two of the countries worst affected by the pandemic – Argentina and Brazil where cases never seem to go away – Uruguay has experienced one of the smallest epidemics in the region, while the authorities avoided a mandatory quarantine.

In September, the British medical journal published an article under the headline: “Uruguay wins against COVID-19”.

The miracle did not last forever. A few months later, cases multiply by the hundreds every day, and experts fear it won’t be long before Uruguay, which has felt prepared, finds out the pandemic is out of control.

On March 13, when the first four cases of COVID-19 were detected in the country, the Uruguayan government assured the population that a mandatory quarantine would not be used in Uruguay. They said that it would be the responsibility of the population to respect the detention which, although recommended, has never been compulsory. Measures have been adopted by the government to encourage people to stay at home, such as closing schools, suspending shows and limiting public transport. They made it through those crucial first months.

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