All of Mexico has been painted red on the federal government’s updated “stoplight” map but state authorities have the freedom to decide which coronavirus restrictions can be eased, health officials said on Friday.
Health promotion chief Ricardo Cortés presented the new map, which shows that the risk of coronavirus infection has been deemed to be at the maximum level in the entire country. Every state will remain at the “red light” risk level until at least the end of next week.
A state is allocated a red stoplight even if just one of the four indicators used to determine the color is red, Cortés said.
The four indicators are case number trends (whether new infections are increasing, decreasing or stable), hospital admission trends for coronavirus patients, hospital occupancy levels and positivity rates (the percentage of people tested who are confirmed to have Covid-19).
Cortés said that Zacatecas, the only state allocated an “orange light” on the stoplight map in effect this week, had switched to red because Covid-19 cases numbers and hospital admissions are on the rise.
He presented guidelines about which activities should be allowed at each of the four coronavirus risk levels.
At the “red light” or maximum risk level, hotels are permitted to reopen but should only accept guests who work in sectors that have been declared essential. Hotel occupancy levels shouldn’t exceed 25%.
Restaurants and cafes should be restricted to offering take-out and delivery. People wishing to have their hair cut should ask their hairdresser or barber to visit them in their homes.
Parks, plazas and other open public spaces are permitted to reopen, according to the federal guidelines, but their capacity should be limited to 25% of normal levels.
Cortés said that walking for exercise purposes is possible but people should take care to maintain a healthy distance from others. Markets and supermarkets should limit the entry of people to 50% of normal levels and one person per family, he said.
Gyms, sports centers, swimming pools, cinemas, theaters, museums, shopping centers, bars, nightclubs, amusement parks and places of worship should remain closed during the red light phase of what the government is calling “the new normal.”
Events attended by large numbers of people should not be allowed during both the red and orange light phases.
Cortés stressed that people should continue to stay at home as much as possible while the risk of coronavirus infection remains at the maximum level.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell, Mexico’s coronavirus point man, described the federal guidelines as examples of what states should do.
However, the health authorities of each state and Mexico City have the power to decide which economic and everyday activities can resume, he said.
The government of Yucatán announced on Friday that as of Monday the state’s stoplight color will be set at orange.
The move will allow the reactivation of nonessential activities such as manufacturing, real estate services and professional services. Hotels and restaurants and retailers will be allowed to open, but with certain restrictions.
Earlier in Friday night’s coronavirus press briefing, Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía reported that Mexico’s coronavirus case tally had increased to 110,026 and that the death toll had risen to 13,170.
The Health Ministry registered 4,346 additional cases on Friday, the second highest single-day increase, and 625 Covid-19 deaths, the third highest spike since the start of the pandemic.
Alomía said that 19,015 of the confirmed cases are considered active, an increase of 638 compared to Thursday. He also said that there are 48,822 suspected cases across the country and that 324,897 people have now been tested.
Mexico City remains the country’s coronavirus epicenter, with the highest number of accumulated cases, active cases and deaths.
The capital has now recorded 3,631 coronavirus-related fatalities, according to the official count, a figure that accounts for 27.5% of all Covid-19 fatalities in Mexico.