Red alert caused by Covid-19 returning to Mexico City and causing Christmas crisis

20/12/2020

The maximum alert due to covid-19 was reactivated in Mexico City, the capital that is facing its worst moment of the pandemic and a Christmas crisis after it was decided that non-essential businesses would be closed from now until January 10.

The red color of the epidemiological indicator, the highest level of risk, lights up since the city suffers from a hospital saturation of almost 85% in its general beds, more than at any other time during the health crisis derived from the coronavirus.

Of the 57 public hospitals to attend covid-19, there are 12 completely full, a figure that rises to 27 when considering those with 90% or more occupancy, according to the Information System of the Severe Acute Respiratory Infection Network (IRAG).

It is estimated that these new emergency measures will cause losses of 48,554 million pesos (some 2,427 million dollars) in sales, warned the National Chamber of Commerce (Canaco). It could also leave eight out of ten restaurants bankrupt, according to the National Chamber of the Restaurant and Spicy Food Industry (Canirac).

The decision cannot be postponed

The stores in Mexico City's historic center, filled a day earlier by panicky Christmas shopping, now looked out with their curtains down, despite the persistent flow of passersby and street vendors.

The red traffic light, announced by Mexico City and its neighboring State of Mexico, only allows the food sector to operate, restaurants with take-away food, energy, telecommunications, medicine, repair shops, and public works and services.

Merchants reacted with solidarity, but questioned the strategy of the capital's government and the federation for resisting the declaration of a sanitary emergency weeks ago, when the increase of infections was already evident. Even so, they also recognized the responsibility of the citizens, who even this morning were crowding the area despite the presence of security elements.

A new crisis

The Government of Mexico has recognized that the country is experiencing its second peak of the pandemic, with more than 117,000 deaths and 1.3 million cases, with daily increases exceeding 10,000 infections. Of these figures, Mexico City concentrates more than 282,000 positive diagnoses and almost 20,000 deaths.

The country's president, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, who had insisted that there would be no hospital saturation in Mexico City, also recognized the delicate situation of the country's capital. But Lopez Obrador said that "fortunately this is not what is happening in the whole country," noting that only eight of the 32 states have an increase in infections.

The president, who has questioned the obligatory use of the mask and the "authoritarian" measures to stop the pandemic, defended a "balanced" response between health and economy.