Wednesday, December 6, 2023

‘Municipality of hope’ jails own councilor for not wearing face mask

Residents of one of Mexico’s coronavirus-free municipalities jailed one of their local councilors on Tuesday for consuming alcohol and not wearing a face mask in a public place.

The health councilor of the municipal government of San Lucas Zoquiapam, Oaxaca, was thrown in jail after he was caught drinking beer with two other people in a pickup truck. The councilor was also slapped with a fine.

Mayor Alfredo Carrera said the jailing of the official sends a clear message of no-tolerance with regard to the flouting of health measures put in place to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. It was unclear how long the councilor would remain in custody or whether he has already been released.

Located almost 300 kilometers north of Oaxaca city in the southern state’s Cañada region, San Lucas Zoquiapam is regarded as one of Mexico’s so-called “municipalities of hope” because it hasn’t recorded a single, confirmed coronavirus case.

Local authorities implemented a range of strict measures at the start of the pandemic to stop any possible spread of the virus.

They included a curfew, a ban on alcohol sales and a prohibition on gatherings of more than 10 people. Traditional parties and the annual harvest festival were canceled in the municipality of some 11,000 residents.

Oaxaca Health Minister Donato Casas said in late November that 172 of the state’s 570 municipalities were considered coronavirus-free because they had recorded no confirmed cases.

Most are located in rural, largely indigenous areas of Oaxaca such as the northern and southern Sierra regions and the Mixteca region.

Casas acknowledged that the number of “municipalities of hope” has declined compared to earlier in the pandemic, although the southern state – currently “medium” risk yellow on the federal government’s coronavirus stoplight system – accounts for the vast majority of Mexico’s Covid-free local government areas.

Oaxaca has recorded 25,354 confirmed cases since the start of the pandemic and 1,903 Covid-19 deaths, according to federal data. It ranks 16th among the 32 states for case numbers and 21st for deaths.

Source: Milenio (sp) 

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