The New Normal: Mexico launches a four-color coding system to resume activities after COVID-19

Mexico will implement its new four-step "traffic light" model starting on June 1

The New Normal: Mexico launches a four-color coding system to resume activities after COVID-19
English 29/05/2020 15:18 Newsroom Mexico City Actualizada 15:47
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Today, the López Obrador administration presented the epidemiological four-step “traffic light” model to return to the “new normal,” that will be used starting on June 1 amid the coronavirus pandemic in Mexico.

During President López Obrador’s morning news conference, the Health Minister Jorge Alcocer and the deputy minister Hugo López-Gatell presented the chart that will define the gradual return to activities.

López-Gatell explained the four categories defined for the reopening of non-essential activities that are based on their social value: high and low in social value, and high and low in the number of people.

López-Gatell said that the country will remain in red until June 1, when the new normal is set to begin. He explained that there will be an evaluation on June 1 and 2 of the changes registered on the risk level of each state, which will be correspondingly reported to state authorities.

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He added that there will be new guidelines for the tourism sector, as well as in many other economic sectors, and stressed that Cancún will be one of the first tourist areas to reopen.

The deputy health minister said that the beginning of the new normal will imply a color scheme system for every state; they will be in charge of establishing the reopening of activities that comply with health measures.

“The end of the National Physical Distancing Campaign does not eliminate the health security and control measures implemented by the 32 federal entities because the map will continue changing state by state and each one will have to notify federal health authorities of their risk level, which is the group of activities that correspond to that level, and they will be in charge of establishing the corresponding reopening of activities that comply with the criteria,”

At the National Palace, López-Gatell said the color scheme works as a traditional traffic light to indicate the risk level of every state but that instead of having three colors, it will have four: green for the lowest risk, and red for the highest, while yellow and orange will mean a medium risk.

He said that the new normal is a series of behaviors the population will have to follow in compliance with prevention measures, such as a series of personal hygiene measures.

As of Thursday, Mexico had confirmed 9,044 COVID-19-related fatalities and 81,400 cases. Moreover, there are 36,131 suspected cases in the country.

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Back to school
Public Education Minister Esteban Moctuzema said schools will reopen when the new epidemiological model marks green.

Moctezuma Barragán stressed that education in Mexico has not been halted for 80% of teachers are still in contact with their students through different platforms. 85% of students are following the “Aprende en Casa” (Learn At Home) program and one million teachers have received training.

The online platform has received 49 million visits; 80% of them from a smartphone.

Once the Aprende en Casa program ends, the strategy will change to Verano Divertido (Fun Summer) that will have education and recreational programs.

Moctezuma Barragán asserted that children will return to school only when the new model marks green. Moreover, instead of physically distancing the children, as other countries do, the education will be based on “taking care of the other.”

He explained that the reopening of basic education schools is expected to take place on August 10, however, this is just a reference for the date could change depending on the actual epidemiological situation of the country.

Meanwhile, secondary education students who did not have access to the Internet will have remedial tuition starting on August 3. They will attend school in different groups: half of them will attend classes on Monday and Wednesday and the other half on Tuesday and Thursday. Those students who are lagging behind will also attend classes on Friday.

The official school year would begin on September 21,  including higher education students.

Entrance exams for junior high schools will be eliminated while those for high schools will take place on August 8 and 9 and on August 15 and 16.

Recommendation: Mexico is among the 10 countries with the highest COVID-19 death tolls

A new normal by general agreement
President López Obrador said that the plan of return to the new normal will be implemented by general agreement,

So far, the whole country is in red, except for Zacatecas that is currently in orange. The map is not expected to be the same color for every state since major changes will make the risk level vary from place to place.

López Obrador said that these are general measures so state governors could choose not to follow them. However, he stressed the relevance of working jointly will state governments despite their differences to prioritize public health interests.

Mexico City and the new normal
Regarding Mexico City, the local government has begun to authorize the operations of companies, including those on the mining, transport, and beer production sector, starting on June 1. The Mexican Institute for Social Security (IMSS) and the Economic Development Ministry (SEDECO) will issue permits to reopen them and will ask for several requirements, including a staggered timetable.

Mexico City’s mayoress Claudia Sheinbaum stressed that in order to avoid the saturation of public transport in the city, companies are required to make changes in their schedules and workdays.

“We’re in that process; there’s a lot of communication with the IMSS and Mexico’s government so that on Monday, some construction activities and some that are mainly related to car assembly companies [can return to their activities],” she said.

She stressed that the reopening of these activities is possible since the federal government established them as essential activities that can resume their usual operations despite the new model being on red.

Sheinbaum said the number and names of the companies that will restart their operations will be released on Sunday.

Regarding the changes in mobility to take place starting on Friday, she said that the Metro and Metrobús are working in dosing users in compliance with different protocols based on physical distancing and a set occupancy percentage.

As of a possible rise in violence after the COVID-19 health emergency, Mexico City’s government is working on a special security plan, according to Sheinbaum.

“On Monday, we will present a general report on Mexico City’s security and also about the measures we’re implementing during this period and ahead of the next colors [of the epidemiological alert model]” she said in a news videoconference.

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