How Uruguay and Mongolia kept the pandemic in check

You are next to neighbors who were Epicentres of COVID-19But Uruguay and Mongolia have become the beacons of hope for countries fighting the pandemic.

Uruguay in South America has only had 3,165 confirmed cases and 60 deaths, while Mongolia fared even better in Central Asia, with no current cases and no deaths.

Both border nations were devastated by the pandemic.

The Uruguayan capital of Montivedo. The small South American country managed to fight the virus. (AP)

160,000 people crossed the Uruguayan border in Brazil, most of them Arm City dwellers who live in slums with no access to adequate health care and sanitation.

Similarly, Mongolia shares a 4,600 km border with China – where COVID-19 broke out earlier this year.

It also borders Russia, which has recorded more than 1.6 million cases and more than 28,000 deaths.

How did they get infections that low?

Both responded quickly, with Uruguay closing its borders in March, while Mongolia acted even faster and closed them in January.

The Mongols voted in the country’s general election earlier this year at the height of the pandemic. (AP)

Your governments have acted decisively in other areas as well: implementing extensive testing and contact tracing; Awareness campaigns launched and large public gatherings banned.

A strong public health system and the involvement of international experts also helped both.

Uruguayans were able to fall back on their longstanding unemployment benefits and general health care.

The small country also has lower rates of inequality, poverty and employment compared to other South American countries.

Mongolia had just had a terrible flu season and had many public health warnings – like regular hand washing.

When officials saw the increase in COVID-19 cases in China earlier this year, they turned to the World Health Organization for help.

Uruguay allowed some public gatherings like this Diversity Parade last month. (AP)

The WHO responded with a mass supply of test kits, and the Mongolian authorities were able to scale up quickly.

However, success in fighting the pandemic has cost both Uruguay and Mongolia.

Thousands of people on Coogee Beach in Sydney today.

Thousands pack Sydney’s famous beaches when the temperatures rise

This year there was no influx of wealthy Brazilian and Argentine tourists to Uruguay, while Mongolia’s valuable export market has dried up.

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