Mexico coronavirus update: total 16 deaths, 848 cases of COVID-19 confirmed (+131 in a day)

Authorities from the Ministry of Health confirmed that as of this Saturday, March 28, 2020, there are 848 confirmed cases of coronavirus in Mexico, 131 more than the reported on Friday, March 27.

In Mexico to date, 848 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths have been confirmed. Photo: Scanpix
In Mexico to date, 848 COVID-19 cases and 16 deaths have been confirmed. Photo: Scanpix

The number of deaths in Mexico rose to 16 on Saturday, March 28, while there have been 848 confirmed cases, 2,623 suspects and 4,341 negatives.

16 people have already died from the new SARS-COV-2 coronavirus in Mexico. Coronavirus deaths are concentrated in people over 55 years of age.

Eighty-seven percent of the dead are men, while obesity, hypertension, and diabetes are the three most prevalent ailments among the dead.

This Tuesday the beginning of phase 2 of the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic formally declared in Mexico. Mexico is currently in phase two, which means that there are already cases of contagion by local transmission and not only imported cases, as they were in phase one. The country suspended the federal government's non-essential work yesterday and has asked companies to send home those workers who can work remotely.

 The coronavirus epidemic in Mexico could last until August and September.

The guidelines of the program "Sana Distancia" (Healthy Distance) should be followed to prevent the spread of Covid-19 among the Mexican population. By staying at home, you help much more so that contagion does not escalate: 

"You are going to help all of us, you are going to help yourselves".

Hugo López-Gatell called on the population to stay at home, as this was the last chance to prevent the situation from getting out of control in the country as cases are already on the rise.

Official laboratories have not certified so-called rapid coronavirus detection tests because they believe that at a certain point they can produce false positive or negative results.

Source: SSA

CORONAVIRUS QUARANTINE

Due to the spread of the new coronavirus in Mexico, preventive measures have been implemented to avoid the increase of infections in the country, one of them is the quarantine through the National Day of Healthy Distance implemented by the Federal Government.

What does quarantine mean?

According to the General Health Law, quarantine is understood as "the limitation to the freedom of transit of healthy people who have been exposed to a communicable disease, for the time strictly necessary to control the risk of contagion".

Although the quarantine may refer to a period of 40 days, this may vary according to the reasons given by health authorities.

When does quarantine start in Mexico?

One of the actions taken by the federal government is the implementation of the National Day of Healthy Distance. In this, the Ministry of Health recommends temporarily suspending all non-essential activities of the public, social and private sectors as of Monday, March 23rd.

It should be remembered that from next Monday and until April 20, all basic, middle and higher education facilities nationwide will suspend classes to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

Some states, such as Guanajuato, Jalisco, Tlaxcala, Yucatan, Michoacan and Sonora, advanced the suspension of classes starting March 17.

How many days will the quarantine last in Mexico? According to the National Day of Healthy Distance, the quarantine in Mexico will last 28 days, it will start on March 23rd and end on April 19th.

Who should quarantine?

This is one of the measures aimed at the entire population in order to avoid COVID-19 infections. However, the World Health Organization (WHO) recommends staying home if any disease occurs. If you have a fever, cough, and difficulty breathing it is best to seek medical attention immediately and follow the instructions of health authorities.

What to do during quarantine?

During this period it is recommended to take shelter at home and if necessary to go out, avoid crowded places, as well as attend mass events. To prevent infection at home, the National Day of Healthy Distance recommends frequent hand washing, sneezing and coughing covering nose and mouth with the inner angle of the arm, cleaning, drinking water, eating healthy and exercising.

For its part, the Ministry of Public Education (SEP) has reiterated that in view of the COVID-19 contingency that Mexico is going through, this period should not be considered as a vacation, since distance learning will be implemented for educational establishments.

Likewise, several companies have taken measures such as reducing working hours and distance working or home office.

Mexico will receive cruise ships, but fumigate passengers

The Mexican government said Wednesday it would continue to receive cruise ships "for humanitarian reasons," but that passengers would be "individually fumigated" before being taken to airports for return flights to their home countries.

The Transportation Department said in a statement that protocol had been applied to the MS Europa, which docked in the Pacific coast port of Puerto Vallarta and was cleared of passengers over the weekend.

Canadian Ambassador asks citizens to leave Mexico

Canada's Ambassador to Mexico, Graeme C. Clark, called on his countrymen on Monday to leave Mexico "as soon as possible", because although commercial flights continue to operate, the situation is changing rapidly due to the COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

"The embassy and consular agencies are working full time to support them. If you are in Mexico, please register with us and let's continue on the social networks to receive the latest updates. In the meantime, please respect the social distancing advice and if you need help, please contact us," said the ambassador in a video posted on social networks.

Cruise Ship Arrivals Suspended due to Coronavirus

The President of the Mexican Cruise Association, José Arturo Musi Ganem, informed that due to the coronavirus pandemic in the world all cruise ship arrivals are canceled for the next five weeks.

The Covid-19 is generating a severe impact that had not been registered in the history of nautical tourism in the Mexican Pacific, since currently, ships are sailing that are already en route, same that when returning to the ports of origin will not sail anymore, waiting in two weeks to not receive any tourist ship in the ports of Cabo San Lucas, Mazatlan, and Puerto Vallarta.

US-Mexico border to close for all but essential travel

Foreign Affairs Secretary Marcelo Ebrard reported that the border between Mexico and the U.S. will remain open, but with restrictions, as part of the measures for the Covid-19 coronavirus.

Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard reported that the border between Mexico and the United States will remain open, but with restrictions, as part of the measures being taken to prevent the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus.

The foreign minister indicated that the measures against the coronavirus imposed by the U.S. will affect those who travel to the U.S.

How much does a coronavirus test cost in Mexico?

A coronavirus detection test costs 2,300 pesos (107 USD) in a private hospital in Mexico, said Undersecretary for Prevention and Promotion Hugo Lopez Gattel.

What are the phases of the contingency for the Covid-19 in Mexico?

The federal government, through the Ministry of Health and the General Directorate of Epidemiology, has determined three phases in the Covid-19 or coronavirus contingency.

Import Phase

Being in phase 1 of the contingency represents that "dozens" of cases have occurred in the country and that these are imported, that is, the people who became ill traveled abroad where they acquired the disease.

At this point, it is possible to detect the origin of the contagion and there are no restrictions for greeting people, nor for holding public events in closed or open spaces. Information is disseminated in schools and universities, as well as in workplaces.

Community Dispersion Phase

The second phase is the Community Dispersion phase and is where countries such as Germany are located. In this phase, cases are counted in hundreds and the origin of the infections is lost. Basically it means that people infect each other, regardless of whether they have left the country or not.

This phase could be reached within 40 to 50 days from the registration of 1 case, which represents hundreds of cases.

In this phase, it is requested to avoid the kiss and hug greeting; massive events are suspended, with the attendance of more than a thousand people, in closed and open spaces such as theatres, cinemas, parks, concerts, stadiums, squares, parks, and beaches.

Sanitary filters are also applied in schools and workplaces, to check people as they enter and verify that they do not have symptoms or fever.

Epidemic phase

The third phase is the epidemic phase, which would be reached 2 to 3 weeks after scenario 2 has been reached, when cases are already counted in the thousands. Spain declared itself in this phase.

In the worst-case scenario contemplated by the SSA for this phase, which would imply that no measures had been applied to control the spread of the virus or that no sick person would be cared for, Covid-19 would infect between 0.5% and 1% of the country's total population, which could represent up to 1.2 million people.

However, under current conditions, it is predicted that between 175,000 and 300,000 people could become ill. Of these people, it is estimated that the minority would require hospitalization in intensive care and that more than 70% of those infected may be asymptomatic, meaning that they would only be carriers.

In this phase 3, it is also asked to avoid the kiss and hug greeting and to suspend public events, in addition to suspending classes in schools where there are active outbreaks, as well as activities in workplaces also with active outbreaks.

Mexican government guidelines for coronavirus control

The federal government published guidelines for epidemiological and laboratory surveillance of the new coronavirus that places health care personnel at the highest risk of infection, so those responsible for medical units must immediately report suspected cases to the Epidemiological and Healthcare Intelligence Unit (UIES).

Staff and patients of the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases. Photo: Ernesto Alvarez / Notimex
Staff and patients of the National Institute of Respiratory Diseases. Photo: Ernesto Alvarez / Notimex

Given that possible infections of medical personnel are particularly relevant, it is recommended that this personnel, regardless of the protective equipment used, be classified within the 'highest' risk of infection," according to the document based on the General Health Law and which is mandatory for the entire country.

The guidelines, with more than 60 pages, establish a person at risk when they had cumulative face-to-face contact for at least 15 minutes, as part of a conversation, or people from communities in the same household.

"Persons with direct contact with body fluids or secretions, particularly respiratory secretions from a confirmed 2019-nCoV case, e.g., kissing, contact with vomiting, mouth-to-mouth resuscitation, coughing; medical personnel with contact with the confirmed 2019-nCoV case as part of medical care or examination, regardless of the protective equipment used.

Epidemiology personnel who follow up on contacts must be fully trained in biosecurity measures and the equipment required to safeguard their integrity and prevent contagion and spread.

Contact covers passengers seated two seats in all directions around the confirmed case and crew members who have served in the section of the aircraft or where the confirmed case was seated. Persons who have had close contact with the case during air or sea travel.

Samples should be taken with sterile plastic-handled swabs and tongue depressors, tubes of viral transport media, and should be provided with coolers containing refrigerants to maintain the temperature at 2-6 degrees Celsius.

"The samples must be considered highly infectious, so it is essential to wear personal protection equipment: NIOSH N95 or N100 respirators; goggles; long-sleeved disposable gown; double pair of nitrile gloves; microporous tape; safety shoes or shoe covers if the first one is not available.

The doctors will take a combined sample of pharyngeal and nasopharyngeal exudate in the same tube. If the patient is intubated, bronchoalveolar lavage will be taken.

In case of death, take a lung biopsy, approximately two centimeters and three of the visibly affected lung parenchyma and place it in a viral transport medium.

If the person goes to the doctor and in the interview reports a history of being in China, "the doctor of the first contact after identifying a patient with the suspected disease by 2019-nCoV should perform the interrogation and care of the case under standard precautions and by drops in an isolated, well-ventilated cubicle and keep the door closed.

"If the patient presents respiratory symptoms, provide a medical mask (mask) to the patient and ask that it be worn as much as possible if it can be tolerated. For patients who cannot tolerate a medical mask, instruct them to apply respiratory hygiene, i.e. covering their mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, with toilet paper, rigorously.

In those suspected cases that do not require hospitalization, they should be managed in-home isolation and followed up through daily monitoring until the laboratory results are available.

"If the case is confirmed, social isolation of the patient is recommended until 14 days after the resolution of the clinical picture.

Measures for the medical sector include "the use of gloves when there is contact with body fluids, blood, and secretions, with contaminated items, mucous membranes, and wounds on the skin; use a mask with facial protection when there is a risk of splashing blood and body fluids.

"Use waterproof gown if there is a risk of splashing to prevent contamination of skin and clothing; transport contaminated clothing in red plastic bags; use rigid containers (BIPR) for disposal of needles and sharps; never re-cap needles.

Recommendations for entry points

Currently "it is not known whether people without respiratory symptoms pose a risk for transmission of the infection.

"Means of transport should verify that appropriate personal protective equipment is available for passengers and crew in the event that any person develops symptoms during transport according to the guidelines established by each carrier".

Air travel between Mexico and Wuhan, China is not direct. One to three connecting stops must be made at airports in the United States, Korea, Canada, France, Japan or Hong Kong and other cities in China to reach the destination.

Daily flights have been identified from the city of Wuhan with connections in cities of the countries described above, with final destination to the International Airport of Mexico City, International Airport of Los Cabos (San Jose del Cabo, Baja California Sur), International Airport Licensed Gustavo Diaz Ordaz (Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco) and the International Airport of Cancun (Cancun, Quintana Roo).

Also, a direct flight from Beijing (PEK), China, to Tijuana (TIJ), Baja California, operated by Hainan Airlines, has been identified, which arrives twice a week. The surveillance and activities carried out in our country on a routine basis by the international health services should be intensified, with a special interest in flights from the People's Republic of China and possible specific connections with the city of Wuhan.

If required, the international health services at points of entry, in addition to routine surveillance, could conduct entry assessments with emphasis on travelers from countries where cases of the disease have been confirmed.

Such examinations may be conducted through interviews with travelers who meet the operational definition of a suspect case, with special emphasis on respiratory symptoms and travel history.

Thermal controls: evidence has shown that temperature detection to identify possible suspects at points of entry is not highly effective and requires a substantial investment of resources. However, ideally, this type of detection can be done with infra-red medical thermometers if the point of entry has the capacity to do so.

What does the coronavirus have to do with Mexican beer?

Going to Google for a medical consultation is quite common - although not the most appropriate - nowadays: from checking the symptoms of an illness to knowing what medicines to take or what to do in case of an emergency.

On January 21, Google Trends reported that interest in 'coronavirus symptoms' had increased by 1,050 percent in just one week, in recent days there has been a high volume of users who have searched wrongly for this germ. Coronavirus' is a term that has proved curious in English-speaking countries, where some people have linked it to the Corona brand of beer.

Since January 16, searches for terms such as 'corona beer virus', 'beer virus' or even 'beer coronavirus' have increased considerably as can be seen in Google's tool for analyzing trends. Estonia, Slovenia, the Czech Republic, Mexico, and Belgium are the countries where most searches have been made for this misnomer.

Despite this high volume of searches, there is no relationship between Wuhan's coronavirus and Corona, the well-known Mexican beer brand, known until recently as 'Coronita' in Spain.