Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou Wednesday announced virtual schooling in his country would continue until at least May 3, amid soaring numbers of covid-19 infections.
Lacalle met with his pro-bono advising team known as GACH (Honorary Scientific Advisory Group and made his decision known. He also ruled out stricter measures: From my point of view, the measures are sufficient if they are complied with, he explained.
The president also said classes would not go back to the traditional on-site format earlier because he did not want to have to make a U-turn, and he hoped that “on May 3 the whole [school] year will start.
From my point of view, the measures are sufficient if they are complied with.” He also mentioned harder restrictions would entail an enforcement punitive scheme he would rather not establish. “If one dictates a measure that is not enforced it's worse than the non-existence of it.
Regarding the proposals of stronger measures put forward by politicians such as Canelones Mayor Yamandú Orsi and former president José Mujica, Lacalle objected that “they talk about a curfew, and said a Congressional law was required for such a constraint to civil liberties “because we are restricting freedom for reasons of general interest and that has to be by law.”
“Now, is anyone who goes out at night going to be punished? The crime of contempt? A fine? When you talk about a curfew, what is it? What do you want to prevent? I imagine that what is being said is 'I do not want them to have parties,' 'I do not want them to the crowd', and they are not talking about the man who goes to a dairy, drives a taxi, or someone who went out of the house because he is anguished or wants to walk. The law to intervene in clandestine parties or agglomerations is there. Others can throw headlines, we are here to govern, he remarked.
Lacalle also addressed the country's vaccination effort: “We have a number of vaccines that exceeds the total number of people we are going to vaccinate; we have ordered more vaccines just in case, he explained. If everything goes well, we will have 1,550,000 from Sinovac and. with those, plus 80,000 from Pfizer that will be arriving next week we have enough vaccines, he added.
By the end of April, Uruguay will have vaccinated 860,000 people with the first dose of Sinovac and 550,000 of them will have the second dose, while the rest will receive it during May, according to Lacalle.
We are going through the worst times of the pandemic these days, said the president, and recalled the words raised by GACH member Rafael Radi last week about the need to shield April.