A two-week curfew on nonessential commercial activities designed to slow the spread of the coronavirus takes effect Thursday in the state of Chihuahua.
Governor Javier Corral announced Wednesday that the curfew will apply between 7:00 p.m. and 6:00 a.m. on weekdays and all day Saturday and Sunday.
The manufacturing sector, which is considered essential, can operate without restriction on weekdays but must shut down completely on weekends.
Among the businesses and services that are not subject to the restriction on operating hours are hospitals and other healthcare facilities, pharmacies, veterinary clinics, gas stations, airports, small grocery stores, butcher shops, bakeries, tortilla shops and convenience stores.
Most other businesses including supermarkets and department stores are subject to the commercial curfew.
Corral said that public transit will be “practically suspended” this weekend and next, explaining that the only services that will run are those that go to hospitals and other healthcare facilities. People will only be allowed to disembark at the final destination, he said.
The governor described the new restrictions as “drastic” but “completely necessary.”
He said authorities are confident that the measures, if complied with, will help to reduce hospitalizations of coronavirus patients and avoid deaths. Their effectiveness will be evaluated at the end of the 14-day period.
Corral also said that he would send an initiative to the state Congress that would make the use of face masks mandatory by law.
Chihuahua, currently classified as a red light “maximum” risk state on the federal government stoplight system, has recorded 27,293 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 2,146 Covid-19 deaths, according to state data.
The state Health Ministry reported 443 new cases and 70 additional deaths on Wednesday. It also said that there are currently 1,165 coronavirus patients in 27 hospitals across the state including 159 on ventilators.
The number of hospitalized coronavirus patients is the highest since the start of the pandemic.
Corral announced that the state is collaborating with the federal government to bolster the capacity of hospitals in Chihuahua to respond to the pandemic. Approximately 220 additional beds are expected to be available to coronavirus patients in the next 15 to 20 days.
Meanwhile, the national coronavirus case tally increased to 943,630 on Wednesday with 5,225 new cases reported by the federal Health Ministry. The official Covid-19 death toll rose to 93,228 with an additional 635 fatalities registered.
Health Ministry Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía presented data that showed that 12,435 coronavirus patients are currently in hospitals across Mexico. The figure is 32% lower than the peak of 18,223.
Data showed that one-third of general care beds set aside for coronavirus patients are currently occupied while just over a quarter of those with ventilators are in use.
Source: El Economista (sp)