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Updated March 25th, 2020 at 17:47 IST

Mexico steps up measures to stem spread of virus

Mexican health officials on Tuesday called on all businesses and organizations to suspend work that requires the movement of people in the wake of the new coronavirus health crisis.

Reported by: Associated Press Television News
Edited by: Associated Press Television News
Mexico steps up measures to stem spread of virus
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Mexican health officials on Tuesday called on all businesses and organizations to suspend work that requires the movement of people in the wake of the new coronavirus health crisis. Deputy health secretary Hugo López-Gatell said that work that requires people to travel between home and work sites or be in public spaces must stop.

He said the country was formally entering a second phase aimed at maintaining the number of new infections at a level that the health system can manage.

"Stay home as much time as possible. Of course if you have critical activities to do, such as getting groceries, assisting a relative in need, you must do them," López-Gatell said, now that the virus is being transmitted within the community rather than just imported.

The measure, which in theory could bring much of the country's economic activity to a halt, was included in a list of other measures the government has already implemented, but there was little explanation of what exactly would be halted, or how that would be enforced, noted Jesus Silva Herzog Marquez, a political consultant in Mexico.

"What has generated the most criticism is no economic support was announced, no fiscal measures, no complementary measures to help mitigate the health emergency with steps to attenuate what will inevitably become a very severe economic crisis," said Silva-Herzog.

Ana Graciela Perez, who works at small restaurant in Coyoacán, a borough dating back to colonial times and very popular among tourists both from Mexico and abroad, said the pandemic is really hurting people like her whose daily income depends largely on how many people she caters to.

She can't help worry about how long this crisis will last and says she cannot afford to stay home.

López-Gatell said Mexico's goal is to keep the number of new infections manageable, flatten the epidemiological curve, though he noted this could lead to a longer, but better controlled epidemic.

Mexico had 405 confirmed cases and five deaths as of Tuesday.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.

The new coronavirus has caused a global pandemic that has sickened at least 424,048 people, killed 18,947 worldwide, crippled economies and forced restrictions on the movement of millions of people in an effort to stop the virus from spreading further and overwhelming health care systems.

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Published March 25th, 2020 at 17:47 IST

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