European Union proposes stricter controls on Covid-19 vaccine exports


A health worker performs coronavirus tests at a homeless shelter in Montevideo, Uruguay on February 4.
A health worker performs coronavirus tests at a homeless shelter in Montevideo, Uruguay, on February 4. Matilde Campodonico / AP

Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has announced new restrictive measures that will be in place until April 12 to curb the spread of Covid-19.

Public offices will be closed except for essential services and in-person learning at all levels of education will also be suspended. Clubs, gymnasiums, amateur sports, public performances, parties and social events will also be suspended, and restaurants and bars will close at midnight. The “free shops” on the border with Brazil, the duty free shops where Brazilians buy to resell in their cities, will also be closed.

“If the free stores are a hub (for the risks), well we are closing them,” Uruguay’s president said at a press conference on Tuesday evening.

Uruguay’s neighbor Brazil is one of the worst-hit countries in the world by the pandemic, with intensive care units overwhelmed, cases on the rise and some essential medical supplies depleted. It has the second highest number of virus cases and deaths, only surpassed by the United States.

The president also said that the number of intensive care beds in the country will be increased with 35 additional beds for the private sector, 10 for the military hospital and 84 for the public sector.

“Stay in your bubble, stay with your close family,” Lacalle said.

Uruguay set a record for new cases and deaths on Monday with 2,700 new cases and 19 new deaths. Also on Monday, health officials said 24 cases of Brazilian variant P.1 had been detected in the country. The country also set a same-day record for the number of active cases – 14,418 and a record for the number of people in intensive care – 188.

The country recorded 1,801 new cases of the virus on Tuesday for a total of 86,007 cases since the start of the pandemic, according to the country’s health ministry. In addition, on Tuesday, 16 more deaths linked to the virus were recorded, bringing the total death toll to 827.

The Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) highlighted an increase in cases in Uruguay, during its weekly press conference on Tuesday. PAHO Director Dr Carissa Etienne said Uruguay had reported more than 1,000 cases per day several times in recent weeks “which is alarming given the size of the country”.

The current population of Uruguay is 3,482,469 as of March 24, 2021, based on Worldometer’s compilation of the latest United Nations data.

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