The swift action of the government slowed the spread of the virus and bought the country vital time to prepare its hospitals and testing system, says the team of scientists advising it. It also meant they could stop the virus’s spread before it became exponential as it did in the hardest hit nations.
“By acting really fast we were able to completely identify and stop the transmission chain of the disease in every [outbreak],” says Rafael Radi, a biochemist at Montevideo’s University de la Republica leading the government’s advisory group.
Epidemiologists traced the first outbreak to a wedding, where all attendees were tested and suspected infections isolated within 24 hours. The same approach was employed at the three subsequent outbreaks: a mental health care hospital, a care home for the elderly, and the city of Rivera, bordering Brazil. The result was that most local transmission chains have been controlled at the second or third ration of contacts,4 before their spread acceleratedhttps://doi.org/10.1136/bmj.m3575 (Published 18 September 2020) BMJ 2020;370:m3575