Thursday, December 7, 2023

Tourism ministers want incoming travelers to be screened for COVID-19

State tourism ministers are going to press for international travelers to be screened for COVID-19.

Mexico’s association of tourism ministers will ask the federal government to implement a policy that requires incoming travelers to present a COVID-19 vaccination certificate or a negative test result.

Oaxaca Tourism Minister Juan Carlos Rivera Castellanos, who heads up the association, said the proposal will be taken to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs next week.

Mexico has never closed its air borders or required incoming travelers to go into mandatory quarantine. The absence of restrictions has been blamed for fueling coronavirus outbreaks in tourism hotspots such as Cancún and Los Cabos.

Rivera said in an interview that the proposal has the support of all state tourism ministers, who believe that the measure will help reduce the spread of the virus in Mexico.

If the federal government approves the proposal, a plan for its execution will have to be developed in conjunction with the Health Ministry, he said. One matter to consider, the minister said, is whether vaccinated travelers will be allowed into the country regardless of the COVID-19 vaccine they received.

Some countries are only allowing unrestricted entry to travelers vaccinated with approved vaccines. The European Union, for example, has only approved those made by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson.

In other COVID news:

• The Health Ministry reported 17,337 new cases on Wednesday, lifting Mexico’s accumulated tally to just under 3.37 million.

An additional 1,177 fatalities were reported, increasing the official death toll to 260,503. There are an estimated 107,520 active cases across the country, a decrease of 17% compared to a week ago.

• Almost 60,000 children and adolescents tested positive for COVID-19 in July and August, according to official data. The figure accounts for about 38% of cases detected among children since the start of the pandemic, attesting to the greater risk of infection posed by the highly contagious delta strain.

The National System for Protection of Children and Adolescents reported that 758 minors have lost their lives to COVID-19. Just over 54% were boys.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell said Tuesday that serious COVID-19 illness and death is not a major threat to children, highlighting that fatalities among minors are much more likely to be caused by accidents.

With reports from La Jornada and Reforma 

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