Coronavirus
The president looks on as the deputy health minister addresses reporters at the daily press conference. The president looks on as the deputy health minister addresses reporters at the daily press conference.

Apart from some key areas, federal government suspends activities

Hospitals, gas stations and other essential services will remain active

The federal government announced that it will suspend all nonessential activities beginning on Thursday in an attempt to mitigate the spread of Covid-19.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell told a press conference on Wednesday that those in administrative positions will be put on leave in order to limit people’s movement and interaction. He said that suspensions would not be based on departments, but rather on how essential an individual’s job is to public safety. Thus services such as hospitals, gas stations, cleaning and energy provision will remain active.

“There are people who work in the government who we can’t put on furlough because it would seriously affect the functionality of the government,” he said.

He also called on the private sector to do as much work as possible away from the workplace, if it is in their power to do so.

“We’re asking private companies to take the initiative — as many already have, big, small and medium-sized — to, if they can, work from home instead of involving the mobilization or concentration of people, … or to organize shifts so that there are fewer people [in the workplace],” he said.

The deputy health minister also announced a special program to offer 14 days of sick leave for employees of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) who present symptoms of Covid-19.

Those workers will be able to log into the IMSS Digital app and fill out a questionnaire about their symptoms. In cases where the symptoms are associated with Covid-19, the employees will be given two weeks of leave, and an epidemiology team will be sent to their houses with medical supplies and advice for not infecting others in the household.

He also emphasized that the Quédate en casa (Stay At Home) measure applies to the general public at large, and not just those belonging to vulnerable sectors of the population.

As for the president’s daily morning press conferences, López-Gatell said that they are considering whether or not to continue holding them, as they remain a fundamental way to keep the public apprised of the coronavirus pandemic.

The federal government also announced this week that it will provide economic support to people over 65 years of age, pregnant and lactating women and the chronically sick so that they can take time off from work.

It said that it would pay their salaries until April 19 in order to allow them to isolate themselves at home and avoid the risk of infection.

Follow Mexico News Daily’s full coverage of the Covid-19 pandemic in Mexico here.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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