Mexico will buy US $56.6 million worth of medical supplies from China to respond to the coronavirus pandemic, Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday.
Speaking at President López Obrador’s regular news conference, Ebrard said that an airbridge has been established between the two countries and that two to four flights per week will deliver supplies and equipment to Mexico. The first of 20 planeloads arrived in Mexico City on Tuesday night.
Ebrard said that another shipment of masks and gloves will arrive in Mexico on Friday night, and thanked China for responding promptly to Mexico’s request to purchase essential medical supplies.
“They shared information with us in a timely manner from the beginning. They sent us all their material translated into Spanish,” he said, adding that the company Meheco has been designated by the Chinese government as Mexico’s main supplier.
The foreign minister said that thanks to the good relations between the two countries, Mexico was able to secure a purchase of 11.5 million KN95 masks – Chinese-made masks that are very similar to the N95 model. Ebrard said that their use has been approved by health authorities in both Mexico and the United States.
He also announced that the government purchased 5,272 ventilators from a range of countries, although the only one he cited was Denmark. The new ventilators, bought with assistance from the United Nations, will start arriving next week, Ebrard said.
Enoch Castellanos, president of the National Chamber for Industrial Transformation, said last week that 35 companies in Mexico will contribute to a project that intends to manufacture 15,000 ventilators to treat coronavirus patients.
Pressure on Mexico’s healthcare system is set to increase as the number of coronavirus cases continues to rise steadily. The Health Ministry announced 396 new confirmed cases on Wednesday and 33 additional deaths, taking the respective totals to 3,181 and 174.
However, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said that authorities estimate that there are in fact more than 26,000 cases of Covid-19 across the country.
López Obrador on Thursday reiterated the call for people to stay at home as much as possible and to take extra care of the most vulnerable members of society.
“We’re behaving very well, … respecting the [social distancing] recommendations, we have information that [people’s] movement has decreased considerably. The fundamental thing is for us to avoid infections. The more we act with discipline … the fewer problems we’ll have with the disease,” he said.
“There hasn’t been an explosion [of the disease], it hasn’t gotten out of control and we hope not to have saturated hospitals.”