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Mexico: one step ahead of COVID-19

25 March 2020

EFE, via Sin Embargo (my translation):

Mexico “is one step ahead” of most European countries, by trying to make “flatten” the infection curve “over a longer period” and has taken the correct measures to accomplish this, Cristian Morales, representative of the World Health Organization (WHO) in Mexico, said in an interview published by the UN agency on Tuesday (24 March 2020).

That same day the Mexican government declared the country is in Phase 2 of the coronavirus pandemic, when there is community transmission.  He predicted that the outbreak will spread slowly, allowing for the health system to maintain control of the situation. 

He stressed that, compared to the complex situations in Italy, Spain, France, and Germany, Mexico has benefited from their experience, and has taken measures prior to going to phase two.

Despite criticism of the Government by those who consider that it  acted late in the face of the contingency, Morales pointed out that in other countries social distancing measures were only undertaken when “there were already three or four times more cases than there were until today in Mexico ”.

He congratulated the state governments that even before phase 2 was declared had already positioned themselves “clearly and explicitly” to reduce person to person contagion, taking measures such as the closing public spaces and cancelling classes.

He was particularly impressed that in Mexico all suspicious cases are being monitored and that the country “has been totally consistent” with the call of the WHO director-general to test 100% of the suspected cases and their contacts.

However, he said that in this phase 2 this will have to change, since now anyone who presents a symptom related to COVID-19 and who has been in an area where there is community transmission will also need to be tested.

Likewise, he said that to face this situation, financial resources “should flow without restriction” from the so-called austerity policy.

Morales accepted that in Mexico 6 percent of those infected are expected to require specialized care “although it could be a little more” due to the “very high” rate of type 2 diabetes and obesity among the population.

The latter, he said, are associated with hypertension, respiratory problems and various cancers, making Mexicans a population “that is more at risk.”

He hoped that Mexico will achieve the “flattening and prolonging the infection curve” but predicted that this situation will continue, at least, until next July or August.

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