Monday, June 24, 2024

Sonora prepares to enforce ‘stay-at-home’ rule to counter virus

The northern border state of Sonora will enforce a stricter “stay at home” rule to limit the spread of Covid-19 starting on Monday, and Nuevo León looks likely to follow suit.

In conjunction with the armed forces and municipal authorities, Sonora’s State Health Council approved an obligatory stay at home program that will run through April 30.

Sonorenses, as residents of the state are known, will only be allowed outside their homes for six reasons: to purchase food, medicines and other essential products; to travel to a hospital or other healthcare facility; to go to their workplace provided that they work in a sector considered essential; to return to their home; to provide assistance or care to the elderly, dependent children, people with disabilities and others considered vulnerable; and to go to a bank.

People should conduct those activities on their own – only one person is allowed to be in a private car and citizens are not permitted to walk together in groups.

The aim of the new restrictions, according to the Health Council, is to reduce the presence of people in the streets and public places by 85%.

State and municipal police as well as the armed forces will be tasked with ensuring citizens abide by them. Those who don’t could be issued with warnings or fines or be forcibly taken to their homes. People who have tested positive for Covid-19 and are caught violating self-isolation orders could be arrested.

Sonora Health Minister Enrique Clausen Iberri said that the stricter measures are necessary because the state has one of the highest Covid-19 fatality rates in the country. Five coronavirus patients had died in Sonora as of Friday out of a total of 55 people confirmed to be infected.

The 9.1% fatality rate in the state is almost 50% higher than the nationwide rate of 6.1%.

Clausen said data shows that the presence of people in streets and public places has only declined by 45%, a figure well short of the target. He said at least 85% of citizens need to stay at home as much as possible for social distancing measures to be effective.

The Health Council measures were ratified by the mayors of 12 Sonora municipalities, including those of Hermosillo, Guaymas, Nogales and Puerto Peñasco, but authorities in all 72 municipalities are expected to adopt them.

For their part, authorities in Nuevo León are considering the option of using the police to enforce the stay at home directive.

Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón said Friday that if residents don’t heed the call to stay at home this weekend, police will begin requiring people to do so starting on Monday.

“Up to 80% of the population is complying [with the stay at home order] but there are still some people who think that nothing is going to happen,” he said.

Rodríguez, a 2018 presidential candidate widely known as “El Bronco,” said that the state’s mayors have expressed their support for using the police to get people off the streets and out of public places.

“In the virtual meeting yesterday with mayors, we all agreed that we must be stricter, … people have no reason to be in the street if they don’t have an essential activity to do,” he said.

“We’re going to see what happens from now until Sunday. If people are not complying completely by Monday we’ll have to take another decision, a stricter, tougher one. I don’t want to, I hope that people have the awareness [to stay at home],” Rodríguez said.

The governor also said that the obligatory use of face masks will be more strictly policed and that health checks in public places will be ramped up, especially in northern municipalities near the border with the United States, which has more confirmed Covid-19 cases than any other country.

There were 110 confirmed cases in Nuevo León as of Friday and five coronavirus-related deaths in the state. Mexico is now approaching 4,000 confirmed cases and more than 200 people have lost their life to the disease.

Source: El Universal (sp), Milenio (sp) 

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