Uruguay and Brazil are finalizing details to “set in motion” the agreement for the creation of a binational border commission to coordinate “joint actions to deal with the health situation” caused by COVID-19.
This was stated by the Uruguayan foreign minister, Ernesto Talvi, who stressed that they are awaiting Brazil’s response “to set a date and decide the composition of those who will be present” in this commission.
“It is going to be a very important milestone that we can coordinate these actions with Brazil and ensure the health of the border population,” he said.
Uruguay, which has a much more controlled pandemic situation compared to its neighbors, has been altered in recent days by the arrival of positive cases in the city of Rivera (north of the country), which shares a dry border with Brazil and the population maintains a binational life.
This made the Uruguayan government focus on this city and take specific measures for the population, such as the suspension of the restart of classes, 1,100 random tests, and Army posts that discourage the passage of citizens from one side of the border to the other.
“The president (Luis Lacalle Pou) spoke with the president of Brazil (Jair Bolsonaro) and they agreed to put this mechanism into operation,” Talvi recalled, noting that the Uruguayan Foreign Ministry is coordinating with the health authorities and the Rivera Mayor’s Office to put it in March.
“This is one city, two countries, so we need that the sanitary measures on one side and the other of the city are effectively mirrored and that there are the same safety standards, the same type of controls, the same type of social distancing measures of prevention, “he explained.
He also emphasized that there is “a very good link” between Rivera’s mayor, Alma Galup Migliarini, and the prefect of Santana do Livramento, Mari Elisabeth Trindade Machado.
On the other hand, he stressed that “the political instability or shocks” that the Brazilian Government may be experiencing is something that all countries have and it is not up to Uruguay to judge it.
“If that is affecting bilateral work? The answer is no, because there is a State that, apart from the political shocks that all countries have, is working,” he said.
In addition, he said that the health situation in Brazil, the management of the pandemic and the high number of infections that place it as one of the most positive countries in the world, does not affect Uruguay since it is taking “very strict measures” to contain the advance of the disease at the border.
“Brazil, regardless of what it does in the rest of the country, is willing to take cooperative and similar measures on both sides of the border,” he concluded.
According to official figures updated until Monday, in Uruguay there are 803 positive cases for COVID-19 and 22 died since March 13, when the health emergency was declared.