Uruguay's President Luis Lacalle Pou Monday announced he would be lifting all sanitary restrictions in place in his country following a meeting with Health Minister and other aides.
Lacalle explained that after two years of the COVID-19 pandemic and several measures to curb the spreading of the disease, the latest data advised adopting this new stance, according to Salinas and also to Health Undersecretary José Luis Satdjian.
Last Friday, Uruguay had already been stopped requiring a PCR test for vaccinated travelers. Testing remained in force only for the unvaccinated, which included people without the proper number of doses.
We saw in the evolution that the numbers were going down, we are at a minimum level and it is the time to do it, Salinas explained. He added that the high percentage of vaccinated Uruguayans had influenced this decision.
Meanwhile, Lacalle Pou said through his Twitter account that the decree ending the emergency will be signed in the next few days.
According to Uruguayan media, after the signing of the decree, wearing facemasks in indoor spaces will be a recommendation and not a requirement. Only in sanatoriums and homes for the elderly will it be a stronger recommendation, said Salinas.
Admission caps will also be lifted, which means venues may welcome people up to 100% of their capacity for concerts, gymnasiums, and sporting events.
It is time to make this necessary qualitative change towards normalization, the minister said.
The Uruguayan authorities will also need to make adjustments to the so-called Covid Fund, which had been created to buffer the impact of restrictions on people's economies. The situation at schools will be discussed at a later date, it was reported.
Those spaces where masks will be preferred include places where food is processed for its subsequent commercialization, healthcare facilities, and transport units. In those settings, masks will be encouraged.
Salinas is to meet Tuesday with education authorities to discuss the new protocols, but the minister will only make a recommendation.
It is a special day, but we had been seeing it in the evolution of the cases and the general level of the pandemic, said Salinas.
Regarding the new SARS-CoV-2 variants and the future of COVID-19, Salinas insisted it would be irresponsible of him to make any forecast.