COVID-19: Mexico has entered the second phase of its contingency plan 

24/03/2020
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13:13
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Newsroom & Agencies
COVID-19: Mexico has entered the second phase of its contingency plan 
Mexico implemented a 3-phase contingency plan in order to face the COVID-19 outbreak - Photo: Courtesy of the Mexican Senate 

COVID-19: Mexico has entered the second phase of its contingency plan 

24/03/2020
13:13
Newsroom & Agencies
Mexico City
Reuters
-A +A
 The World Health Organization recently said Mexico registered local COVID-19 transmission cases

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The World Health Organization recently said Mexico had registered local COVID-19 transmission cases; this would mean the country has entered phase 2 of 3 in the pandemic

On March 23, the Health Ministry confirmed 367 COVID-19 cases and 4 deaths. During the news conference, Dr. Hugo López Gatell, Mexico’s coronavirus czar, said Mexico City and the metropolitan area will be the area with the most transmissions, as a result of its large population. 

López-Gatell said that although the country has registered five contagion cases that can’t be linked to imported coronavirus cases and that the country would remain in the first phase of its contingency plan. So far, 292 cases were imported and 70 are linked to imported cases

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He added that Mexico implemented measures that correspond to the second phase two weeks ago. 

Moreover, Dr. Gatell explained that the WHO classifies COVID-19 cases as imported or community and that the change between these two phases is a gradual process. 

On March 22, the Health Ministry said Mexico is now entering a turning point where there will be a surge in contagions and COVID-19 cases will increase. 

However, on March 24, Mexico announced it was officially announced the country had entered phase 2 of the contingency plan even when only 1% of cases are not linked to imported coronavirus cases. 

According to Dr. López Gatell, Mexico has correctly managed the COVID-19 outbreak through the implementation of mitigation measures. Additionally, he explained these measures will make the epidemy last longer because there won’t be so many cases to treat at the same time. 

In order to face the COVID-19 outbreak, Mexican authorities are looking to hire over 43, 000 doctors and nurses but so far, authorities have only hired 1, 200 experts; therefore, it’s necessary to accelerate the process. 

During the news conference, the government also announced it will cancel all large public and private gatherings for a month in an attempt to contain the spread of coronavirus while launching a program to support small businesses.

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President Andrés Manuel López Obrador also suggested that Mexican business leaders are stepping up, noting that billionaire Carlos Slim told him that he will not lay off any workers during the coronavirus crisis.

In recent weeks, López Obrador had been criticized for his relatively relaxed response to the coronavirus outbreak

Nevertheless, Dr. López Gatell emphasized Mexico would intensify preventive measures now that the virus has begun spreading through “community transmission.”

In order to address the economic fallout from the COVID-19, the Mexican government will give USD $1 million low-interest loans to small businesses, as announced by President López Obrador.

Coronavirus in Mexico: Phase 2

During this phase, it will be impossible to find the origin of contagion and there are hundreds of COVID-19 cases. This means people who didn’t travel to countries such as China, Italy, Spain, France, or the U.S. will begin to infect others. 

Authorities will request people to avoid kissing, hugging, shaking hands, cancel massive events, and close public spaces such as beaches, parks, stadiums, movie theaters, among other public places. 

Checking points will be installed at workplaces and schools to check people for COVID-19 symptoms such as fever. However, Mexico already closed schools and universities a week ago.  

According to calculations, between 175,000 and 300,000 people could contract the virus. Around 70% of them would not have symptoms and only carry the virus, while only a fraction would have to be hospitalized and need intensive care.

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