A shipment of 300,000 Covid-19 testing kits will arrive in Mexico from China this weekend, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Wednesday.
Ebrard said in a Twitter post that the tests will arrive on the 11th of 20 planned flights between Shanghai and Mexico City to bring much-needed medical supplies.
He said in April that Mexico would buy US $56.6 million worth of supplies from China and met with Chinese ambassador to Mexico, Zhu Qingqiao, on Tuesday to thank him for his support in opening up the airbridge between the two countries and facilitating access to personal protective equipment, coronavirus testing kits and ventilators.
The additional tests will allow Mexico to ramp up testing as the government takes steps to reopen the economy even as the pandemic continues to worsen.
Only 142,204 people had been tested for Covid-19 in Mexico as of Tuesday, according to federal Health Ministry data, a figure that equates to just over 1,000 tests per 1 million inhabitants.
In contrast, Spain and Portugal have tested more than 50,000 people per 1 million inhabitants, Canada and the United States have tested more than 30,000 people per 1 million and Peru and Chile have tested more than 15,000.
Without widespread testing, many Covid-19 cases, especially mild or asymptomatic ones, will inevitably go undetected and the virus will continue to spread.
The director general of the World Health Organization, Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, said in March that testing, along with isolation and contact tracing, should be the “backbone” of the response to the coronavirus pandemic.
“You cannot fight a fire blindfolded. And we cannot stop this pandemic if we don’t know who is infected. We have a simple message for all countries: test, test, test,” he said.
Ebrard’s announcement that 300,000 tests will arrive soon comes a day after the president of the Business Coordinating Council, an influential business group, said that more tests need to be made available so that businesses in the manufacturing sector can be certain that Covid-19 won’t spread among employees.
Testing workers widely is essential to avoiding a severe second wave of infections, said Carlos Salazar Lomelín,
“We’re a country that has performed a very, very small quantity of tests. … We need the tests so that we have certainty that the workers entering workplaces are not infected,” he said.
Source: El Financiero (sp)