For the first time since the coronavirus stoplight system was introduced more than a year ago, Mexico City and México state will both make the switch to low risk green, authorities announced Friday.
The capital and its neighbor, which between them have recorded more than 900,000 confirmed cases and over 70,000 Covid-19 fatalities, will move to green on Monday. Both are currently medium risk yellow on the stoplight map, which will be updated at the Health Ministry’s Friday night coronavirus press briefing.
Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum announced the risk reduction in a Twitter post.
“Thanks to the efforts of everyone, the city will move to the green light [risk level] next week. Let’s not drop our guard, let’s keep looking after ourselves,” she wrote.
Despite the downgrade in the risk level, the pandemic is far from over in the capital, which has been Mexico’s coronavirus epicenter since the virus was first detected here in February 2020.
More than 700 new cases and 28 Covid-19 deaths were reported Thursday and there are currently just under 5,000 active cases in Mexico City, according to Health Ministry estimates – far more than any other state in the country.
However, the occupancy rate for both general care and critical care hospital beds is below 20%, according to federal data, and authorities began the vaccination of people aged 40-49 this week after having offered at least one dose to residents aged 50 and over.
In México state, which includes many municipalities that are part of the greater Mexico City metropolitan area, Governor Alfredo del Mazo Maza announced the switch to green in a video message.
“After several weeks with a downward trend in the number of infections and hospitalizations, México state will move to the green light [risk level] next week,” he said.
“… The green light means that we’re doing well, infections have gone down [but] we have to keep being responsible, … let’s not drop our guard, let’s keep following the preventative measures, let’s keep using face masks,” del Mazo said.
There are an estimated 1,112 estimated active cases in México state, while the hospital occupancy rate is 12% for general care beds and just 9% for those with ventilators.
Del Mazo highlighted that seniors in all 125 México state municipalities will be fully vaccinated by next Tuesday and people aged over 50 will have received at least one shot by the same day. The vaccination of residents aged 40-49 began in some municipalities this week.
The switch to green means that coronavirus restrictions will ease next week.
In the capital, shopping centers and department stores will be permitted to increase their maximum capacity to 50% of normal levels and restaurants will be able to remain open until 12:00 a.m., also at 50% capacity.
Hotels will be able to operate at 60% capacity and host events for up to 100 people. Nightclubs and bars will not yet be permitted to reopen although many of the latter reinvented themselves as “restaurants” and have been open for months.
A similar easing of restrictions will occur in México state. As is the case in other states, the switch to green also paves the way for schools to reopen. Del Mazo indicated that could occur as soon as June 14 in his state.
He highlighted that all public and private school teachers are already vaccinated and said that meetings will be held next week with a view to restarting classes the following Monday. Students will initially have the choice to continue studying virtually or to return to in-person classes, the governor said.
At least some schools in Mexico City will open on Monday, although there is significant resistance among students.
The risk downgrade in the capital and México state is further evidence of the vastly improved coronavirus situation in Mexico, which went through a devastating second wave that began late last year and extended into January.