Latin America is the current epicenter of the pandemic: positive cases and deaths do not stop, quarantines are spreading, and political and economic crises affect several countries. In this context, Uruguay is the only one accepted in the region as an issuer of travelers to the European Union (EU).
Although it is only a recommendation by the bloc to its member states to lift restrictions, Uruguay became the exception in a polluted region – Canada is the other American country on the list of 15 – thanks to the control of the pandemic in its country.
“For Uruguay it is a distinction, a privilege and an opportunity fundamentally because we understand that we are doing somehow a special, unique marketing, very difficult to achieve through other methods than that of having achieved credibility,” he declared this Tuesday to Efe the Deputy Minister of Tourism of Uruguay, Remo Monzeglio.
After learning of the Brussels resolution, Uruguayan Foreign Minister Ernesto Talvi stressed at a press conference that it is a recognition “of the excellent work that was done to control the pandemic.”
“Uruguay maintains absolutely exceptional relations with the European Union with whom we are united by common values, common roots, which make us see the world in a very similar way,” he emphasized.
Likewise, the president of the Uruguayan Association of Travel Agencies (Audavi), Carlos Pera, told Efe that being able to enter among the privileged by the EU is “a pride” and demonstrates the good joint work between the government and the population.
IBERIA, THE FIRST STEP
The stage will begin on July 5 when the Spanish airline Iberia resumes its flights with Uruguay.
“We are receiving Uruguayans, relatives of Uruguayans, people who have a commercial or business link with our country and under a regime of entry and compliance of 14 days of quarantine,” explained the Vice Minister of Tourism.
Iberia’s director for Latin America, Víctor Moneo, stressed to Efe that he hopes this is “the first step” for restrictions to be lifted in the rest of the continent.
“At Iberia we were already prepared to start flying when this happened and on Sunday we will restart our operations between Madrid and Montevideo with one flight a week,” he explained.
The vice minister also noted that Uruguay is receiving requests from several airlines to resume flights such as Copa Airlines, Air Europa and Latam, although at the moment there is nothing concrete.
To advance the arrival of tourists, Monzeglio explained that it will be key to observe how the opening of tourism in Europe takes place, since Uruguay is “like the younger brother” that learns from good and bad results.
THE EUROPEAN LOOK
The EU recommendation was approved by a qualified majority, that is, with the support of at least 55% of the countries that represent at least 65% of the population, and to do so, the epidemiological situation and containment measures were taken into account. .
In dialogue with Efe the ambassador of the European Union in Uruguay, Karl-Otto König, stressed that the South American country “has well deserved” to be on this list for its good management and that this decision made by the European bloc “is not something discretionary “but is based on objective criteria.
The ambassador assured that he is “impressed” with how Uruguay reacted to the crisis, how obedient the population was to abide by the health recommendations and the government’s communication.
“At the moment Uruguay is an island in a wild sea but I hope that other countries also learn from good management, I am thinking of Brazil, Argentina or Chile. Uruguay gives a good example of how it is possible to encapsulate this health crisis,” he concluded.
THE EXCEPTION ON A COLLAPSED CONTINENT
On March 13, Uruguay detected the first four positive cases of COVID-19 and, from that moment, took measures that today are seen as key to controlling the pandemic: it partially closed its borders, suspended face-to-face classes, public shows and He called on the population to stay home.
In addition, it created a network of its own diagnostic laboratories for PCR, worked in an inter-institutional group to investigate the evolutionary dynamics of SARS-CoV-2, and manufactured diagnostic tests.
After 65,626 tests carried out on a population of 3.5 million people, today Uruguay has 932 positive cases (only 83 active) and 27 deceased.
All this was achieved in a continent collapsed by the coronavirus with countries like Brazil with almost 60,000 deaths and more than 1.3 million infections; Argentina with 62,268 infected and 1,283 deaths or Chile with 279,393 positives and 5,688 deaths.
Now, the challenge of this small country will be to reopen the doors to tourism. Although the arrival of visitors in the region does not seem to be an option at the moment, the president of Unavi considered that European tourists can already be considered because of the “very acceptable health situation” that his country has.