Mexican gov’t says Covid-19 on downward trend, further eases restrictions

Mexico City, Jun 9 (efe-epa).- Mexico’s government said Tuesday there are signs of a downward trend in the country’s Covid-19 crisis and announced that hotels and other accommodations can start to operate and recreational activities will now be permitted as part of its phased economic reopening plan.

Starting immediately, hotels are allowed to operate at 25 percent capacity, restaurants are authorized to deliver orders, hairdressing services can be performed at people’s homes, parks are permitted to operate at 25 percent capacity (though children’s play areas still are off-limits) and sporting events can be held behind closed doors.

The same rules remain in place for supermarkets, which still are restricted to 50 percent capacity and just one person per household inside the store at one time.

Health authorities have authorized these activities even though the coronavirus health alert is still at its highest “red” level in all 31 states and the capital (Mexico City).

“Medical personnel are trying to save lives and treat people in need, even though the epidemic in our country remains stable and is trending downward, albeit slowly; there are indications of that,” Health Secretary Jorge Alcocer said.

A week into the government’s “new normality” economic reactivation plan, Mexico finds itself in the most critical phase of its coronavirus fight with around 120,000 confirmed cases and roughly 14,000 Covid-19-related deaths, the deputy secretary of health prevention and promotion, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said.

Under the country’s traffic light health alert system all 32 federal entities are still classified as “red,” he noted, adding that in terms of coronavirus-related hospitalizations there is an upward trend in 23 states and a downward trend in just three.

During the current phase of reopening, Lopez-Gatell said the activities of gyms, movieplexes, theaters, museums, shopping malls, houses of worship, concert halls, bars and nightclubs – establishments that some state governments have allowed to reopen – should remain suspended.

Even so, the deputy health secretary acknowledged that some sectors of the economy must be reactivated despite the risk of contagion.

“An appropriate balance (must be struck) between the goal of economic reactivation, social wellbeing and wealth generation, especially for families that depend on these economic spaces for their livelihoods, and on the other hand (the goal of) ensuring that the number of people who come together in public spaces is very controlled,” he said.

The hospital bed occupancy rate for severe acute respiratory infections currently stands at 46 percent, meaning that 10,346 beds are occupied and 12,318 are available at 795 hospitals.

The use of ventilators (by critically ill patients) stands at 38 percent, meaning 2,979 intensive-care beds are occupied and 4,805 are available.

Mexico currently ranks seventh worldwide in terms of deaths attributed to Covid-19 and 14th in confirmed coronavirus cases, according to the latest figures from Johns Hopkins University’s Coronavirus Resource Center.

Even so, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, whose administration has sought to persuade – rather than force – people to comply with coronavirus measures, hailed Mexico’s management of the pandemic as exemplary.

“Mexico has been a role model worldwide because we’ve managed to flatten this curve and avoid hospital saturation without coercive measures,” he said Tuesday at his daily news conference at the National Palace in Mexico City. EFE-EPA


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