Friday, December 9, 2022

Jalisco eases rules governing obligatory use of face masks

The use of face masks is no longer mandatory in public places in Jalisco with the exception of public transit and health care facilities.

Governor Enrique Alfaro said Monday that the decision to lift the mask mandate was taken after consultation with health experts. He said it was possible because the spread of the coronavirus has been controlled in Jalisco, which includes Guadalajara and tourist destinations such as Puerto Vallarta and the Lake Chapala area.

“The reality is that the numbers tell us we’re doing well, that we’ve made progress and the pandemic in our state has been controlled,” Alfaro said.

The governor said the state is currently recording an average of 59 new cases per day whereas the average over the past two years was 819. He said that just 21 coronavirus patients were hospitalized and there were only 19 COVID-related deaths last month, the lowest monthly total since April 2020.

“These indicators make us think that we can take a step forward with care, with awareness that this hasn’t finished,” Alfaro said.

He advised people with coronavirus-like symptoms to use face masks and noted that there has been a “persistent demand“ in schools for the mask mandate to be lifted.

“Now with the … heat, using a face mask has been an enormous burden for girls and boys,” Alfaro said.

He said his government understands that people are tired of face masks after two years of continuous use but warned citizens not to drop their guard.

Alfaro said he was confident that the decision to end the mask mandate – which officially concluded Tuesday – was the right one and that coronavirus case numbers will remain low.

Several other states have dropped mask mandates – at least for open air spaces – including Baja California Sur, Baja California, Mexico City, Tamaulipas and Nuevo León.

Mexico went through a large omicron-fueled fourth wave of infections that peaked in January with almost 1 million new cases recorded.

The Health Ministry said Tuesday that the pandemic was continuing with “minimal activity,” noting that there was an average of 370 cases per day over the past week.

Mexico has recorded over 5.7 million confirmed cases since the beginning of the pandemic and more than 324,000 COVID-19 deaths. About two-thirds of the population is vaccinated, a figure that should soon increase as the government is now offering vaccines to all children aged 12 and over.

With reports from El Universal 

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