South American Uruguay has also been severely affected by the new coronavirus. In a population of fewer than 3.5 million residents, 110 infections with lung disease have now been detected. Dozens of infections can be traced back to one woman’s visit to a high-society wedding in early March, according to the local press.
It’s priceless for most South Americans, but most common for the continent’s jet-setter: regular candy and business trips to Miami or Europe. However, the coronavirus outbreak requires travelers from these risk areas to be quarantined. However, compliance with quarantine was barely monitored shortly after the outbreak, with all its consequences.
Wedding better than staying indoors
Although she was not feeling well, Uruguayan fashion designer Carmela Hontou did not go into self-isolation when she landed at the airport in the capital Montevideo on March 7. She may have come from Madrid, but on the same day, a significant event was on the calendar for Hontou: a society wedding with more than 500 guests from home and abroad.
At the party, which was held in a chic suburb of the capital Montevideo, Hontou infected at least 44 people at the time. When the Hontou infection was announced, only 78 infections were known in Uruguay.
Not a “terrorist”
Hontou is now at home. She says she feels better than the day after the wedding when she first got a fever. However, during an interview with the Argentinian news site Infobae, she complains about the reactions she receives: “People call me a terrorist, they think I went to the wedding to spread the virus. That is not true.”
Still, according to the Uruguayan press, Hontou could be a criminal offense for “spreading infectious diseases.” It is not yet known whether the Uruguayan has actually been charged.
The fashion designer doesn’t have to count on pity. Social media mock Hontou. Many Uruguayans consider the behavior of the socialite to be typical of the alleged disdain that high society has for the norms and laws of the country.
Numerous stories of travelers who tried to evade quarantine also surfaced in the Argentinian media last week. Local authorities reported 600 arrests on Friday alone. That same evening, 400 crew members of an Uruguayan ferry were required to be quarantined upon arrival at the port of Buenos Aires, after a 21-year-old crew member was found to be infected with the coronavirus.
Although the Argentinian (who had been on holiday in Europe) had himself tested a few days earlier on arrival in Uruguay, the traveler had not waited for the results of the test. Within hours, the infected traveler’s private data was circulating on social media.