Mexico’s list of coronavirus-free “municipalities of hope” has dwindled from 324 to 80 in the space of eight months.
In the middle of May, Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said that 324 municipalities in 14 states hadn’t recorded a single case of the coronavirus and didn’t border any with known cases.
The municipalities were given the green light to lift coronavirus restrictions on May 18 and get back to work and school, although most chose not to.
At the time, officials were optimistic that the virus would soon be brought under control. In June the president declared that Mexico was an example for the rest of the world for having succeeded in slowing its spread.
Now, eight months later, the situation is far worse than predicted and there are just 80 so-called municipalities of hope in five states.
Chihuahua, Guerrero, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Michoacán, Nuevo León, San Luis Potosí, Tamaulipas and Yucatán all had municipalities of hope last May. Now they have none.
Of the 80 remaining coronavirus-free local government areas, 76 are in Oaxaca while Chiapas, Puebla, Sonora and Veracruz boast one each.
Oaxaca, however, has lost 137 municipalities of hope since May, while the number in Chiapas, Puebla, Sonora and Veracruz has declined by four, 12, 15 and 11, respectively.
Among the states that have gone from being municipality of hope “haves” to “have nots,” San Luis Potosí has fared the worst. Its six erstwhile coronavirus-free municipalities have now recorded 2,165 cases, including almost 1,800 in Matehuala.
Guerrero’s 12 former coronavirus-free municipalities have now recorded 866 cases, including 476 in Ometepec, which is located in the south of the state near the border with Oaxaca.
In Oaxaca’s 137 erstwhile municipalities of hope, 831 positive coronavirus cases have now been detected. San José del Progreso, located 50 kilometers south of Oaxaca city, has the highest tally with 94 confirmed cases.
Among the Oaxaca municipalities that have been successful in keeping the virus out are the Northern Sierra locales of San Bartolomé Zoogocho, San Andrés Solaga, Santiago Zoochila, Santa María Yalina, Santiago Laxopa and San Juan Tabaá.
They have prohibited the entry of visitors unless they first test negative for the coronavirus and go into self-isolation for 14 days.
Outside the 80 remaining hopeful municipalities, Mexico’s coronavirus pandemic continues to grow at a rapid pace.
The federal Health Ministry reported the second highest single-day totals for both cases and deaths on Wednesday.
Mexico’s accumulated case tally rose to 1.57 million with 15,873 new cases, while the official Covid-19 death toll increased to 136,917 with 1,235 additional fatalities.
Source: El Universal (sp)