The Mexico City government will establish 26 new Covid-19 testing points this week, including five outside Metro stations and one at a busy intercity bus terminal.
As of Wednesday, so-called “macro-kiosks” where members of the public will be able to get tested free of charge will be located outside the Mixocac, Etiopía, Pino Suárez, Tacuba and Tacubaya stations.
There will also be testing stations at the San Lázaro bus terminal, outside the Estadio Azteca sports stadium and at the Juana de Asbaje park among other locations with high levels of foot traffic.
In addition, authorities will set up macro-kiosks on the concourse of the municipal offices in 14 of the capital’s 16 boroughs.
The only boroughs where free testing won’t be available outside the municipal headquarters are Coyoacán and Tlalpan. However, residents of those boroughs will be able to access free testing at the stadium and park mentioned above.
The Mexico City government said the objective of setting up the new testing points is to identify coronavirus cases more quickly and isolate those who test positive.
The macro-kiosks will complement smaller mobile kiosks where authorities have been performing tests in hotspot neighborhoods in recent months. Authorities will have the capacity to conduct 10,000 tests per day at the testing points, double the current level.
Mexico City will remain at the orange light “high” risk level on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight system this week but Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said last Thursday that the capital is close to regressing to “maximum” risk red due to a recent rise in hospitalizations of Covid-19 patients.
Even though the risk level will officially remain at high this week, Sheinbaum announced on Friday stricter coronavirus restrictions that require bars and cantinas to close for the next two weeks and limit the opening hours of a range of other businesses.
As of Sunday, Mexico City had recorded just under 180,000 confirmed coronavirus cases and 16,383 Covid-19 deaths.
Meanwhile, the national tally of confirmed cases passed 1 million on Saturday and rose to 1,006, 522 on Sunday with 3,269 new cases reported by the federal Health Ministry. The official Covid-19 death toll increased by 283 on Sunday to 98,542.
Speaking at the coronavirus press briefing on Sunday, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said that it was “insignificant” that Mexico had passed the 1 million confirmed cases mark.
“Yesterday the media continued to highlight the issue of accumulated cases and they talked about reaching 1 million inhabitants who have suffered Covid-19. It’s true but it’s a limited version of the information; in reality, if we look at the estimated cases we [already] have more than a million. … Therefore it’s a little bit insignificant [to pass 1 million confirmed cases] but in terms of news it appears attractive to report a round number whenever there is one,” he said.
“What’s important is to be aware of what this means; what it means is that the epidemic remains active,” López-Gatell said, noting that new case numbers are rising after beginning to decline at the end of July.
“Now [cases] are increasing concurrently with the flu season just as we’ve been predicting since March,” he said.
The Health Ministry estimates that there are currently 47,099 active cases across the country. Mexico City leads the country for estimated active cases with 13,258 followed by Nuevo León with 4,153.
In per capita terms, Durango has the highest number of active cases with 78.6 per 100,000 inhabitants. Querétaro is just behind with 78.3.