Authorities in Oaxaca have announced that they have obtained 10,000 Covid-19 rapid tests and that a range of businesses must close across the state to limit the spread of the contagious disease.
Health Minister Donato Casas said that only one state-run laboratory is authorized to carry out coronavirus tests.
“In our state laboratory we can carry out up to 40 tests in five hours with the technology we have,” he said.
The government shut down a private lab in Oaxaca city earlier this week due to reports that it was charging as much as 18,000 pesos (US $750) for unlicensed Covid-19 tests.
With regard to limiting the outbreak of coronavirus in Oaxaca, where there were four confirmed cases as of Tuesday, Governor Alejandro Murat said that stricter measures need to be imposed because the disease could now be spreading among the community.
He said that he had issued a decree for all bars, movie theaters, sports centers, gyms and museums to close temporarily in all of Oaxaca’s 570 municipalities. Businesses that flout the restriction will be closed and fined, the governor said.
Police in Oaxaca city are already asking people who are outside without a valid reason to return to their homes and state authorities will now ask their municipal counterparts to enforce the same restriction in other parts of the state.
Predicting that the health crisis would last 12 weeks, Murat said that “the most important thing today is social distancing and isolation.”
He also said that the government is taking steps to ensure that families have the financial means to get through a prolonged partial shutdown of the economy. However, the governor stressed that people’s health must be prioritized.
“We will overcome the economic [impact] but we can never recover a [lost] life,” Murat said.
Schools in Oaxaca – as in all other states – are now closed for extended Easter holidays and large events have been postponed or canceled. Murat said that health checks have been ramped up at airports and bus stations, and that public transit services have been reduced by half.
The governor highlighted that Oaxaca has four new hospitals that are jointly run by the army and the state government. The new facilities have set aside 200 beds for Covid-19 patients in serious condition, he said.
“No other state has four new hospitals to respond to this pandemic,” Murat said, adding that they are equipped with modern medical equipment and sufficient supplies.
He also said that his government has reached an agreement with several companies for food to be provided to people who are struggling financially due to the coronavirus-fueled downturn in the economy.
Once the health crisis passes, 3.6 billion pesos (US $150.4 million) will be invested in infrastructure projects to help revitalize the economy, Murat said.
Source: Milenio (sp)