URUGUAY'S SUCCESSFUL RESPONSE TO COVID-19 MAKES HEADLINES AROUND THE WORLD

Fecha de publicación: 06/07/2020

The Financial Times, The Economist and Bloomberg praised the country's strategy and forecast an early economic recovery.

In a regional context marked by the arrival of COVID-19, Uruguay stands out for its successful strategy to control the virus. Despite not having decreed mandatory quarantine, the country managed to reduce the infection curve through a policy of "responsible freedom". The world praises the rapid response of the South American nation, which put its great technological infrastructure and outstanding scientific talent at the service of its population.

This was reported by The Financial Times of London, which in its June 29 article highlighted "Uruguay’s COVID success". "Favoured by a low population density and much lower inequality and poverty," the country is "one of the few countries in Latin America that seems to have the pandemic under control," said the British newspaper. 

In this regard, the publication highlighted the "government's rapid response" which "was decisive" in the fight against the virus. "Uruguay’s strong public health system has helped it combat the pandemic," the publication said. After having made "a great investment in the health sector", Uruguay "has one of the highest per capita bed numbers in Latin America," it added.

In addition to stressing the importance of its strong health system, The Financial Times highlighted the "government’s swift appointment of a scientific commission to lead the response ", as well as the establishment of 24 laboratories to develop the tests, which allowed the country to "bypass international supply bottlenecks for testing equipment". 

The British newspaper referred to the successful strategy of appealing to citizens' responsibility instead of implementing a mandatory quarantine and praised the attitude of Uruguayan society in its response to the virus. "A well-educated population, stable democracy, and strong institutions also helped," the publication noted. 

As a result of not paralyzing the country's activities and the commendable civic conduct of its citizens, "the economic impact of the coronavirus crisis may be much lighter than elsewhere in the region," the English newspaper said. "A quick rebound — with growth expected to return by the fourth quarter — could help Uruguay to emerge even stronger". 

Trust in government and responsible freedom, the keys to Uruguay's success 

For its part, The Economist referred to the exceptional situation of the South American country in its article of June 20, entitled: "Standing apart: how Uruguay has coped with COVID-19". 

The British publication praised the strategy of not enacting mandatory quarantine and noted: "Rather than locking people down, the government trusted them", and "people behaved responsibly". This policy of "responsible freedom" involved closing schools, cinemas, and shopping centers, but did not involve forced isolation. "It urged people to work from home, wear face masks and keep their distance from each other, but did not confine them to their houses", The Economist said.

In addition to weighing up the government's response to the crisis, the weekly highlighted the quality of Uruguay's medical system, which is "free and reasonably good, available to all". The Economist also stressed the high level of formal employment, which has enabled the government to extend unemployment insurance to a large part of the labor force. "Three-quarters of workers have formal jobs, well above the regional norm." 

On another note, the prestigious publication highlighted the very high number of tests carried out by the Uruguayan government, which with 67533 tests performed represents a true "regional record".

In the same vein, the U.S. agency Bloomberg referred to Uruguay as "an oasis in the middle of the COVID-19 storm", and highlighted the speed of government action. "President Luis Lacalle Pou was faster to act than his regional peers, moving to close borders and issuing a voluntary lock-down less than a month after taking office", Bloomberg said in its June 30 report.

In addition to underscoring the readiness of the Uruguayan executive in its response to the pandemic, Bloomberg highlighted the strengths of the national social security system. "Uruguayans also enjoy a robust safety net, thanks to generous spending on health care, pensions, and social programs". 

In conversation with Bloomberg, the local World Health Organization (WHO) representative Giovanni Escalante gave an optimistic prognosis about the South American country's incipient recovery. "It’s very likely that Uruguay maintains a favorable evolution because of the consistency in how it applies measures", said the WHO envoy.

Thanks to its citizens' commitment and the successful state response to the advent of the coronavirus, Uruguay has become an example for the region, which has become the epicenter of the pandemic according to the WHO. The country is also notable for the successful joint efforts of policymakers, scientists, and technology professionals, who have helped to address the pandemic by using the best of national talent.

To access the full article by Financial Times, click here.

To access the full article by The Economist, click here.

To access the full article by Bloomberg, click here.

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