Guanajuato is the latest state to turn red on the coronavirus stoplight map as the pandemic continues to worsen, primarily in 10 states.
Health Minister Daniel Díaz Martínez said measures reflecting the maximum risk level would take effect Friday, three days ahead of what had been anticipated.
The decision was triggered by increased hospitalizations and a rise in the mortality rate and the number of positive Covid-19 tests.
Restrictions will include the closure of bars and cantinas, a reduction from 50% to 30% in allowed capacity at places of business and to 20% in parks and other public places.
There are now five states — Mexico City, México state, Baja California, Morelos and Guanajuato — designated as maximum risk for the coronavirus and five more face the likelihood of joining them, according to the federal Ministry of Health.
They are Sonora, Zacatecas, Querétaro, Aguascalientes and Hidalgo.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Thursday that the mortality rate had increased by 2% and that hospitalizations were up to 18,292, 3% more than the previous maximum number, recorded in July.
“The epidemic is accelerating and for that reason it is very important not to lose sight of the need to take preventive measures, regardless of the exhilaration produced by the arrival of the vaccine,” López-Gatell said.
Senior government officials gathered Wednesday at the Mexico City airport to welcome the arrival of the first 3,000 doses of the Pfizer/BioNTech vaccine.
It was considerably less than the 250,000 doses that were initially scheduled to arrive on Monday. But Health Minister Jorge Alcocer explained that the small shipment was intended to “calibrate” the supply chain and ensure that the necessary systems were in place for the supply, distribution and application of the vaccine, which must be maintained at a temperature of -70 C while in transit.
The smaller than expected shipment didn’t stop the government from creating what many described as a political event on the runway for the benefit of reporters.
Five senior cabinet ministers, some deputy ministers and other officials greeted the vaccine’s arrival but ignored the safe distance measures the government has been promoting as essential to curbing the spreading of the virus.
Not unexpectedly, there were many critics but López-Gatell dismissed them after the event, suggesting their comments reflected limited comprehension.
“I don’t think we should worry if someone ridicules a public health strategy in a country … that is living with a pandemic. [It shows] their degree of comprehension or ability to understand a phenomenon such as this and be able to contribute.”
Meanwhile, nearly 3,000 people were vaccinated Thursday in Mexico City.
Vaccinations will resume next week following the forecast arrival of another 50,000 doses on Tuesday.
There were 12,485 new coronavirus cases registered on Thursday, bringing the accumulated total to 1,362,564. The total number of deaths is now 121,172 after another 861 fatalities were recorded yesterday.