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Coronavirus & Uruguay

Covid travel restrictions & what you need to know to stay safe 

IMPORTANT NEWS The government indicated on August 2 2021 that next week they will make an announcement regarding a gradual opening of the borders. The opening will start in September with vaccinated property owners who are non-resident. It appears other vaccinated travellers will be likely to enter “by the end of Spring” (ie November in the summer hemisphere). Sign up to the Guru’Guay newsletter & be first to find out when the borders open.

Can I get into Uruguay right now?

Covid travel restrictions have been in place in Uruguay since March 2020 when the borders were closed to everyone other than citizens and residents.

Do I need to quarantine?

Given the appearance of Delta in July, the government is once again expecting new arrivals to quarantine whether you are vaccinated or not.

How is the vaccination situation in Uruguay?

Uruguay has a long history of carrying out successful health campaigns and Uruguayans are used to getting vaccinated. All Uruguayan children must be vaccinated to attend school and having your vaccinations up to date is a requirement for anyone wanting to join a sports or leisure centre here.

So though vaccine roll out started later than in many parts of the world because as a small country it took some time to import supplies, Uruguay is currently amongst the top 10. By the end of July, it appears that vaccines are controlling the pandemic in Uruguay. In part because Uruguayans are overwhelmingly eager to get vaccinated.

In line with its science-based approach to health campaigns, Uruguay announced May 13 an upcoming study to measure the effectiveness of the vaccinations. The goal is to measure the efficacy of each of the three vaccines available in the country comparing stated clinical trial results with the reality that vaccinated Uruguayans are living.

Has Uruguay had a ‘good’ pandemic?

Uruguay has never had a mandatory lockdown. Instead the new government–which had come into power on March 1 2020 just thirteen days before the first Covid 19 cases were announced in Uruguay–called on citizens to exercise ‘responsible freedom’ (‘libertad responsable’). This policy worked very well for the first nine months when Uruguay appeared as a case to be emulated. Numbers of cases began to increase significantly after a year. The reasons can be disputed—proximity and dry borders with Brazil and Argentina, pandemic ‘fatigue’, belief that once vaccination started the battle was won, are the main ones. Despite that, we have had privileged freedom of movement, city dwellers respectfully wear masks and the uptake for vaccines is strong. So I still feel as I did when I wrote in in April 2020 that there is no place I would rather be in a pandemic than Uruguay.

Check out our archive to get an idea of what it’s been like living in Uruguay during this time.

Want to know what it was like in Uruguay for foreigners?

In 2020 Guru’Guay covered the stories of eight foreigners who found themselves stuck in Uruguay when the borders closed in March for El Pais, Uruguay’s oldest national newspaper. Uruguayans LOVED reading the stories—they are generally a very self-critical lot and found the appreciation for their country unexpected.

Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs
Guru of Guru'Guay Karen Higgs

You can read them here in English. You’ll definitely get an idea of what Uruguay is like in times of crisis. Good to know, right?

Curious about who stayed and who left? Click on the images below. You might be surprised.

PAGE UPDATED July 30 2021

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