Sunday, April 14, 2024

Rising number of coronavirus cases triggers US Embassy health alert

The U.S. Embassy issued a health alert on Friday, once again urging U.S. citizens who wish to return home to do so now unless they are prepared to remain in Mexico for an “indefinite period.” 

The alert states that as coronavirus cases in Mexico rise, with 31,522 as of Friday, so do hospital occupancy rates in areas such as Mexico City, Baja California, México state, and Quintana Roo. The military has been deployed to ensure the safe delivery of medical supplies and to protect hospitals and their staffs in six states, the statement reads. 

The alert goes on to detail coronavirus restrictions in Mexico in effect until May 30, which include stay-at-home orders, school and non-essential business closings, restrictions on public gatherings, and in some areas curfews and mandatory face masks in public areas. It also warns that in some parts of the country those found in violation of these orders can be fined or arrested. The embassy provides localized information on its website.

For those choosing to leave Mexico, commercial flights are still an option, but traveling in or out of the country can be tricky. The alert states that passengers and flight crews arriving in or departing to Mexico may be screened for symptoms and asked to quarantine. The embassy also warns that the government will not be providing repatriation flights. 

Mexican authorities may deny entry to those traveling across the border by land on non-essential business, the alert states. There also may be delays, health screening checkpoints, and requests to quarantine for those entering Mexico.

The embassy recommends that travelers on essential business carry proof of the nature of their visit. With the majority of hotels and home rentals shut down, business travelers are permitted to stay in a select number of hotels that maintain occupancy of 15% or lower and must present a letter from their employer in order to be allowed to stay. 

Visitors with respiratory symptoms will be referred to Mexican health authorities, and the embassy says the U.S. government will not cover costs for citizens traveling abroad. 

The embassy urges U.S. citizens to sign up for the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program and check the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s website and other U.S. government resources for the latest coronavirus information. 

Travelers should check with airlines regularly about schedule changes and cancellations and check Customs and Border Protection’s Port of Entry website for wait times and other restrictions. Consular activities have been suspended except for emergency situations.

For those seeking local information, the embassy recommends the Mexican government’s coronavirus hotline, 800 0044 800, which may or may not have English-speaking operators available, and the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19MX app.

A March 31 virtual town hall with Ambassador Christopher Landau offers some basic information and answers to common questions.

Mexico News Daily

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