Mexico will enter phase three of the coronavirus pandemic in a matter of days, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said on Tuesday as the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 continues to rise steadily.
Speaking at the Health Ministry’s nightly coronavirus press briefing, López-Gatell once again urged citizens to stay at home to reduce the number of new infections and thus help to avoid overwhelming the nation’s health system.
Despite the work the authorities have done to prepare the system for a large influx of patients, the spread of Covid-19 “could be so quick” during phase three that hospitals would be unable to cope, he said.
In such a scenario, the health system would experience “serious and large problems” in attending to Covid-19 patients, López-Gatell added.
The deputy minister said that the commencement of phase three is “literally” just days away and that when it arrives, the spread of Covid-19 will be “very rapid” and “irreversible.”
|Coronavirus by state|
|Estado de México||35||602||904||1800|
|Baja California Sur||5||164||198||484|
|San Luis Potosí||4||55||115||800|
“What we do today [in terms of social distancing], we have few days left to do it vigorously,” López-Gatell said.
“[We have to] avoid being in contact with other people, … all of us, not just the people with greater risk of having complications [from the disease]. We insist that you stay at home; this is the measure of precaution, prevention and control that is necessary today,” he said.
Asked whether a phase three declaration could only apply to certain parts of the country that have concentrated outbreaks of Covid-19, López-Gatell responded:
“Technically it could be done … but [a] … selective process would be confusing, that’s why we’re considering a single phase three [declaration] of a national character.”
An obligatory home quarantine and a “health curfew” in which people are only permitted to leave their homes during certain hours are among the stricter restrictions that the government could choose to impose during the third phase of the pandemic, although President López Obrador said earlier this month that his administration would not seek to implement any “draconian measures.”
López-Gatell’s declaration that a phase three declaration is imminent came after Health Ministry Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía reported that the number of confirmed cases of Covid-19 had increased by 385 to 5,399 and that coronavirus-related deaths had risen to 406 from 332 a day earlier.
The 72 new fatalities represent the biggest single-day increase in the death toll since the first Covid-19 patient died on March 18.
Alomía also said that there are 10,792 suspected cases of Covid-19 in the country and that just over 40,000 people have now been tested. Almost 40% of those confirmed to have Covid-19 – a total of 2,125 people – have now recovered, he said.
Mexico City has the highest number of confirmed cases, with 1,556, followed by México state and Baja California, where there are 602 and 412 cases, respectively. Colima has the lowest number, with seven, followed by Durango and Zacatecas, where there are 15 and 17 cases, respectively.
Among the more than 5,000 people confirmed to have Covid-19 are nine infants aged less than one. Twenty-four pregnant women have also tested positive and four have died.
Mexico City also leads the country in terms of coronavirus-related deaths with 92 fatalities. México state and Sinaloa follow with 35 and 34 deaths, respectively. Colima is the only state that hasn’t yet recorded a fatality.
Among Covid-19 patients aged 60 or over, the fatality rate is 17.1 per 100 cases and for those aged 25-59 it is 5.6. There has only been one coronavirus-related death among those younger than 25 – a 2-year-old girl with a congenital heart defect died in Tabasco on Tuesday.
The overall fatality rate in Mexico is 7.52 per 100 cases. According to Health Ministry data, 43% of those who have died suffered from hypertension, 38% had diabetes, 34% were obese and 12% had chronic obstructive pulmonary disease.
As the percentages indicate, some of the deceased suffered from more than one existing health problem.
Source: Milenio (sp)