President López Obrador has declared that people should not be afraid to go out despite the risk of coronavirus infection remaining high, but urged them to maintain a healthy distance from each other.
“What am I proposing on the recommendation of doctors? That we start going out while applying what we’ve learned, all the healthy distance teachings,” he said at a press conference in Xalapa, Veracruz, on Monday.
Asked whether it was contradictory to call on people to go out a day after Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell warned that the pandemic “won’t end soon,” López Obrador responded that a balance needs to be struck that takes health risks into account as well as the economy, well-being and people’s right to freedom.
“Fear shouldn’t overwhelm us, we have to move slowly. We’ve already learned a lot [about how to minimize the risk of infection] and we’ve shown we are responsible. … The behavior of the people is exceptional; that’s why we managed to flatten the curve,” he said.
López Obrador said that if new Covid-19 outbreaks occur as the economy begins to gradually reopen, his government is prepared to reimpose coronavirus restrictions that have been eased.
“We will be vigilant but if we take care of ourselves responsibly, … we can advance toward normality. There is already a light that indicates that we’re going to come out of the tunnel,” he said.
The president reiterated his claim that the pandemic has been controlled and ruled out any possibility that the health system will be overwhelmed as more and more people return to their daily activities.
López Obrador also claimed that his administration’s financial support for the nation’s neediest has staved off civil unrest during the pandemic.
“There is no looting. There has been no looting in Veracruz. Why? Because never in the history of the country has so much attention been given to the people, especially to humble people, poor people,” he said.
Later on Monday, the Health Ministry reported that Mexico’s Covid-19 case tally had increased to 150,264 with 3,427 new cases registered and that the death toll had risen to 17,580 with 439 additional fatalities.
Director of Epidemiology José Luis Alomía said that 20,392 cases are considered active and that the results of 53,217 Covid-19 tests are not yet known. Just over 415,000 people have now been tested for Covid-19.
Just under 40% of all confirmed cases – 59,600 – were reported in the first half of June, a period that coincides with the first two weeks of the so-called “new normal” in which some coronavirus restrictions were eased in some states.
Mexico City, which has recorded more than 37,500 cases since the start of the pandemic, currently has the largest active outbreak in the country, with 4,022 cases, according to official data.
With 2,285 active cases, México state has the next biggest active outbreak followed by Jalisco, Puebla and Tabasco, all of which have more than 1,000 active cases.
At the municipal level, Puebla city has the largest active outbreak followed by the Mexico City boroughs of Iztapalapa and Gustavo A. Madero.
Mexico City also has the highest Covid-19 death toll in the country, with 4,664 fatalities, or just over a quarter of Mexico’s total.
México state has the second highest death toll, with 2,005 confirmed Covid-19 fatalities, followed by Baja California and Veracruz, which are the only other states that have recorded more than 1,000 deaths.
Based on confirmed cases and deaths, Mexico’s fatality rate is currently 11.7 per 100 coronavirus cases, much higher than the global rate of 5.4. Mexico has the seventh highest Covid-19 death toll in the world behind only the United States, Brazil, the United Kingdom, Italy, France and Spain.
National data presented by the Health Ministry on Monday night showed that 45% of general care beds set aside for people with serious respiratory symptoms are currently occupied while 39% of those with ventilators are in use.
Mexico City and México state have the highest occupancy level for general care beds, at 72%, while 65% of beds with ventilators are in use in both México state and Baja California.