MONTEVIDEO, Feb. 19 (Xinhua) -- Uruguayan President Luis Lacalle Pou on Friday signed a decree extending the ban on mass gatherings and agglomerations for another 30 days amid the health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

"It is essential to extend the statutory limitation of the right of assembly for reasons of public safety, as well as the suspension of agglomerations for the purpose of protecting public health," the decree stated.

"Although the figures projected by scientific experts, which motivated the adoption of the restrictive measures, have not been reached, the positivity rate has not yet been lowered or maintained in all the country's departments," it added.

The law, which was passed by the General Assembly, allows the executive branch to extend the decree, which was scheduled to expire on Sunday, once for 30 days from the initial term of 60 days.

Uruguay is experiencing a stabilization in the spread of the virus, after suffering an exponential growth of COVID-19 cases in December, which led the government to close the country's borders for 42 days.

According to the latest report from the Ministry of Public Health, there are a total of 50,752 cases and 558 deaths of COVID-19 in the South American country.