There will be widespread rapid testing for Covid-19 in Jalisco as part of efforts to contain the spread of the infectious disease, Governor Enrique Alfaro said on Monday.
Alfaro said that his government has the capacity to conduct 5,000 polymerase chain reaction, or PCR, tests immediately and that it intends to obtain an additional 15,000.
Widespread coronavirus testing, as has occurred in countries such as South Korea, will help to limit the outbreak of the disease, he said.
“We’re going to begin a program of … mass testing in order to be able to detect cases in a timely fashion and act accordingly,” Alfaro said.
“What we want is to avoid deaths here, we want to avoid infections here. I’m not competing [to have the lowest Covid-19] statistics, I’m trying to act with responsibility,” the governor said.
“We’re not going to sit back and do nothing. In the face of a lack of general decisions [by the federal government], we cannot continue to allow the regions of Mexico to be at the mercy of the circumstances we are living through in the country. We’re going to take decisions, Jalisco is taking them,” he said.
For his part, the director of the Guadalajara Civil Hospital said that widespread Covid-19 testing is important because an asymptomatic carrier of the disease could be infecting other people for up to five days before developing symptoms.
If such people are not detected and as a result don’t self-isolate, they could be the source of a widespread coronavirus outbreak, Jaime Andrade Villanueva said.
As of Monday, there were 46 confirmed cases of Covid-19 in Jalisco, the third highest number among Mexico’s 32 federal entities after Mexico City and Nuevo León. Many of the people confirmed to have coronavirus in the western state recently traveled to Colorado, United States.
Jalisco recorded its first coronavirus-related death on Monday – a 55-year-old man who suffered from obesity and diabetes.
In addition to increasing the number of tests in order to contain the spread of Covid-19, Alfaro said that he has asked the Pacific Airport Group, which operates the international airports in Guadalajara and Puerto Vallarta, to suspend flights from destinations where there are coronavirus outbreaks.
Under the proposal, cargo flights and those transporting people to carry out humanitarian work would be exempt, he said.
The governor also said that his government would send a letter to the federal Ministry of Communications and Transportation to urge it to suspend flights from coronavirus hotspots into other airports in Mexico.
“The regulation of airports and flights that come from other countries and other cities with [Covid-19] problems … is truly urgent. Decisions that are extremely important cannot continue to be put off,” Alfaro said.
However, United States President Donald Trump announced Friday that his administration was suspending nonessential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border, and Guatemala and Belize have also closed their borders with Mexico.
Source: Milenio (sp)