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LATIN AMERICA | 17-03-2020 20:33

Uruguay closes borders with Argentina in bid to block coronavirus

Uruguayan government decrees state of health emergency and the partial closure of borders; number of confirmed cases rises to 50.

Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou has announced the total closure of the country's borders with Argentina due to the coronavirus epidemic.

Meanwhile, the the number of confirmed cases of the disease in the country rose to 50 (29 were confirmed Monday, with another 21 announced Tuesday).

"We are going to decree the total closure of borders with Argentina. We are going to decree the total closure of borders with Argentina. I am talking about land, river and air, allowing nationals and residents to enter," the president said at a press conference with Public Health Minister Daniel Salinas.

The transport of goods and healthcare purposes are also exempt from the regulation.

The closure will be effective immediately as of Tuesday, July 17, at midnight.

In the case of Brazil, "it is a little more complex", added the president. "It's a dry border. We know about the binational life that thousands of Uruguayans lead," he said.

However, he assured that the foreign ministers of Brazil, Ernesto Araújo, and Uruguay, Ernesto Talvi, "would coordinate measures" to try to ensure that people "do not leave this binational route and enter further into" the territory.  

Lacalle Pou also gave the new balance of confirmed cases, which rose to 29, up from the eight reported on Sunday.

"The cases are stable, there are several with very few symptoms and the vast majority are at home," said Salinas.

During the conference, the president once again called on the population to take all necessary precautions. "We would like to take this opportunity to once again urge (...) thousands of Uruguayans who have not yet become aware of the situation. Specifically those over 65, (we ask) that they stay in their homes because they are the most exposed to the contagion".

- TIMES/AFP

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