The intensity of the coronavirus pandemic has declined in much of Mexico but Quintana Roo and Yucatán are among a small group of states that have seen a recent increase in new case numbers.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday that new infections had spiked 8% nationally after weeks of declines, attributing the increase to higher case numbers in Quintana Roo, Yucatán, Baja California Sur, Campeche, Sinaloa and Veracruz.
“It’s Quintana Roo and Yucatán where there is a significant increase in cases. We’ve called for a reduction of certain activities where people congregate,” the coronavirus point man told reporters at President López Obrador’s regular news conference.
There are currently 1,212 active cases in Quintana Roo and 1,729 in Yucatán, according to federal Health Ministry estimates.
Only Mexico City (5,871) and Tabasco (1,989) have more active cases than the Yucatán peninsula states, which are currently high risk orange on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight map. Ranking fourth for active cases – one spot below Yucatán and one above Quintana Roo – is Baja California Sur, which an estimated 1,544 people currently have Covid-19 symptoms.
The common denominator for three of the top five states for active cases – Quintana Roo, Yucatán and Baja California Sur – is that they are home to popular tourist destinations.
“This increase has to do with tourism, … something that must be highlighted is that Mexico doesn’t ask for a PCR [or antigen] test to enter the country,” said Andreu Comas, a health academic at the Autonomous University of San Luis Potosí.
“… We’re having a signifiant increase [in case numbers] in the Baja California peninsula and in the Yucatán peninsula because of tourism,” he said.
In Mérida, the capital of Yucatán, brigades of people employed by the state Health Ministry have returned to the streets to distribute hand gel and remind citizens to follow measures to mitigate the spread of the virus, such as the use of face masks.
In Quintana Roo, where more than 100 new cases per day have been recorded in recent weeks and more than 250 Covid patients are currently hospitalized, Governor Carlos Joaquín took to Twitter to remind citizens to continue following the health protocols.
Mexico City, which switched to low risk green at the start of last week, has also seen a slight increase in new cases since easing restrictions. The capital easily leads the country for confirmed cases and Covid-19 deaths with more than 669,000 of the former and 44,100 of the latter.
The national case tally is 2.46 million while the official death toll is 230,428, a figure considered a vast undercount.
López-Gatell advised people with Covid-like symptoms to seek timely medical attention, saying that there is plenty of capacity to treat patients.
“At this time we don’t have saturation problems, … we have ample space in the Covid units,” he said.
Meanwhile, Mexico’s Covid-19 vaccination program continues to roll out across the country with first doses being given to people aged 40 to 49 and second doses already reaching some people in the 50-59 age bracket.
About 37.5 million vaccine doses had been administered in Mexico by Tuesday for a rate of 29 shots per 100 people, according to The New York Times vaccinations tracker.