Hundreds of Jalisco residents clogged up the highways leading out of Guadalajara on Friday, ignoring the government’s pleas for people to remain in their homes during the most intense phase of the Covid-19 outbreak in the country.
Aboard cars and trucks loaded with beach accessories, coolers and even bicycles, residents formed lines stretching over two kilometers at the toll booths accessing the highways to Puerto Vallarta and Manzanillo, Colima, in hopes of taking advantage of the long Labor Day weekend.
Initial reports said that health workers stationed at the two highway checkpoints screened as many as 446 cars as of Friday afternoon, carrying out exhaustive examinations of the passengers and cargo. Similar numbers were estimated to have been screened at checkpoints on two other highways leading north out of the city as well.
Health workers and police took people’s temperatures and urged them to return to their homes. Despite the large numbers of vacationers attempting to leave the city, no potential or confirmed case of Covid-19 was detected during the screenings.
Governor Enrique Alfaro Ramírez acknowledged his constituents’ restlessness, but reminded them that it was no time to take vacations, as the country is currently in phase three of the coronavirus pandemic, when the rate of transmission is the highest.
“For those who think that it’s not a problem, remember that — as we saw during Easter — in 15 days there will be grave consequences and among them deaths. It’s not a joke. For a few, we all lose,” he said.
Friday saw the biggest single-day jump in new cases of Covid-19 across the country, as 1,515 people were confirmed to have the virus.
“We’re now fully in the most critical phase [of the outbreak] and we have to take it seriously. It’s not a holiday weekend. Those who leave could take the virus to other places or return home sick and infect more people,” said Alfaro.
Jalisco residents have been notoriously restless during the pandemic. Police arrested six people on the first day of reinforced quarantine measures in mid-April, and Governor Alfaro has already expressed his anger with citizens when many attempted to visit the beach town of Sayulita, Nayarit, during the Easter Week vacation.
Health workers have documented that these and other incidents of people not staying at home have resulted in infections that could have been preventable in the state.
Source: El Financiero (sp)