Mexico reduces COVID alert level in half of the country

MEXICO CITY (AP) – Mexico reduced its COVID-19 alert level on Friday in half of the country’s states as, according to health authorities, the rate of infections and the number of hospitalized people have decreased in many places, including Mexico City and the State of Mexico.

For this reason, entities such as the capital announced the opening of gyms, indoor pools and churches starting next week, and restaurants will be able to operate outdoors until 10 at night. Mexico City already opened this week – with restrictions and controls – spaces such as shopping centers.

“The epidemic continues but it is, at least at this moment, downward; vaccination is going forward. Let’s continue calmly, optimistic but with prudence and discipline, ”summarized the Undersecretary of Health Hugo López-Gatell, spokesman for the federal government for the pandemic.

However, the figures are not optimistic: Mexico already exceeds 1.9 million infections with at least 172,557 deaths confirmed by COVID-19, although the authorities themselves recognize that the real number of deaths is much higher. The lethality remains in 8% of those diagnosed.

The government is trying to speed up the inoculation program with the authorization of two new vaccines this week (China’s CanSino and Sinovac) and the arrival of more batches. Two million doses of CanSino’s arrived on Thursday to be packaged in Mexico; Half a million of AstraZeneca’s are expected on Sunday, and the reception of Pfizer’s, the only ones applied so far, will resume next week.

In total, less than 86,000 people have been fully immunized, which is a minimal percentage in a country with 126 million inhabitants

López-Gatell took advantage of Friday’s conference to warn that they had detected attempts at fraud on the internet with plagiarism of the websites of recognized laboratories to offer inoculations, and for that reason he recalled that in Mexico there is no vaccine against COVID-19 except the one the government offers.

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Of 13 states that were at the maximum level (red), only two remained – Guanajuato (in the center) and Guerrero (in the southwest) – although the undersecretary warned that this does not mean that the guard should be lowered because eight entities of the 21 that are in the orange level are at risk of returning to red if all the recommendations are not respected to avoid contagion.

The four-color traffic light -red, orange, yellow and green- conditions the activities that can be carried out in each place, although in a very general way because in Mexico mandatory quarantines were not decreed and it is the state and local authorities that end deciding what to authorize and what not.

Most of the border states in both the north and the south of the country decreased their level of risk, except those of the Yucatan Peninsula, in the southeast, which remained unchanged.

The only state in green is Chiapas, on the border with Guatemala, the level at which schools could theoretically be reactivated, although it has not yet happened. López-Gatell said that they are already working on it.

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