As the state of Morelos approaches 1,000 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, one municipality has managed to remain virus-free thanks to the preventative measures taken by its mayor and citizens.
As the coronavirus spread throughout the world, the mayor of Zacualpan de Amilpas, an agricultural community of about 14,000 located in the foothills of the Popocatépetl volcano, realized it would soon make its way to Mexico as well.
“I took things very seriously, very seriously,” says Mayor Adrián Cázares González, who has been in office since last December.
Early on he summoned doctors and other experts to a special meeting to determine the most effective preventative measures which he was quick to impose, although Cázares admits the restrictions at first did not go over so well with residents.
He began by prohibiting the sale of alcohol and closed down the popular weekly swap meet, the only one in the state and a tradition in the area dating back centuries that normally brings up to 14,000 people to the municipality each Sunday.
Face masks were made mandatory and are distributed free of charge. Sanitation crews regularly began disinfecting the streets and other public areas, and people who leave their homes for nonessential reasons are sent back to their families with hand sanitizer.
Trucks coming in and out of the town, many taking crops of pears, berries and apples to market, must pass through health checkpoints and are sanitized inside and out.
“The secret has been the organization between society and government and compliance with sanitary measures to avoid contagion,” said Cázares, who holds regular meetings with community organizations and leaders.
The mayor thanked the municipality’s residents and business owners for their support, which not only includes abiding by restrictions but also the donation of sanitary supplies from the private sector, including protective suits just in case the virus does find its way into Zacualpan.
“Those suits are already here in case they are needed, and we have already started digging graves on a plot of land, not the municipal cemetery, in case they are needed,” said Cázares. “It is better to have something and not need it than to need it and regret it.”
Source: Milenio (sp)