Local Mexico gov’ts ramp up COVID-19 responses as AMLO holds back

A day after the Mexican president held a big rally, hugging and kissing his advocates and defying cautions over the spread of the unique coronavirus, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador took out 2 spiritual amulets from his wallet.

They are “protective shields”, he stated when asked how he means to safeguard himself versus the illness.

Lopez Obrador has actually been implicated of minimizing the hazard of the infectious breathing health problem, and health specialists have actually cautioned the Mexican federal government’s technique has actually been inadequate in reacting to an infection that has actually contaminated more than 400,000 individuals and eliminated over 17,000 worldwide.


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While the infection break out was stated an international pandemic and significant cities have actually entered into lockdown, shutting and cancelling flights down borders, Lopez Obrador has actually continued to argue that such procedures would just harm the Mexican economy.

“There are many millions of Mexicans who live from day to day, ” Lopez Obrador stated throughout his early morning press conference on Monday, describing the millions of individuals who operate in the casual sector and live off of their day-to-day earnings.

“So we have to take care of their health and at the same time the economy, ” he stated.

Since Tuesday, Mexico has 367 verified cases of the coronavirus and 4 deaths, well below European or United States percentages. The numbers have actually been increasing gradually and epidemiologists state the true number is likely much greater.

Specialists state Lopez Obrador is stressed the nation’s currently dropping economy would take an even larger hit. Mexican gdp diminished by 0.1 percent in 2015, throughout his first year in office – for the first time given that2009 And as the Mexican peso has actually plunged to record lows today, experts anticipate the economy to agreement by as much as 4 percent this year, according to Reuters news firm, mentioning a Credit Suisse note released recently. 

Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador holding up 2 amulets, which he states serve as ‘protective guards’ versus the coronavirus illness, throughout his day-to-day press conference at the National Palace in Mexico City, Mexico [Mexico’s Presidency/Handout via Reuters] 

However in spite of Lopez Obrador’s sluggish reaction, cities and towns throughout Mexico have actually grown quieter over current days, and observers state it has actually been mostly due to action taken by local and state federal governments, not the federal one. 

‘ Irregular’ reaction

“Lopez Obrador has one priority and one priority only, that is to protect Mexico’s economic performance,” stated Tony Payan Director of the Center for the United States and Mexico at the Baker Institute.

Payan states this has actually led to local leaders needing to take uncoordinated efforts that are not backed by federal assistance or clinical information, dealing with little access to national resources.

“Because there is no leadership at the federal level, there is anti-leadership, and state governors and mayors are left to take their own measures,” Payan informed Al Jazeera. “The response has been uneven, with some states taking it very seriously, taking drastic measures and other states simply not doing enough,” he stated.

The federal government has up until now revealed a series of procedures consisting of the suspension of all public and private events for a month, extending the Easter break for schoolchildren and advising individuals to work from home.

The health ministry called Monday a national “healthy distancing” day, as part of a four-week effort focused on motivating individuals to preserve range from one another in order to minimize the danger of infections.

“This is not a total economic pause, but rather reduction in activity, trying not to affect the sectors that live by the day,” health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell Ramirez composed in a tweet.

Congested streets in downtown Mexico City amidst the coronavirus break out [Gustavo Graf/Reuters] 

On Sunday the mayor of the largely inhabited capital, Mexico City, purchased the closure of the city’s museums, fitness centers and bars beginning on Monday, and prohibited occasions with more than 50 individuals. There are currently 60 verified coronavirus cases in the city.

However in other places in Mexico, the procedures have actually differed considerably. On Friday, the state of Jalisco, which has actually taped 46 cases, revealed a five-day suspension of financial, social and spiritual activities and advised individuals to remain athome Dining establishments, while mostly empty of clients, stayed open. The guv of Nuevo Leon state said public parks, schools, bars, dining establishments, motion picture theatres and gambling establishments would briefly need to shut, and dispatched authorities to the street to ensure that companies comply.

The state of Queretaro suspended public funeral services and mandated the cremation of coronavirus victims. The state of Sinaloa, a drug cartel fortress, purchased on Monday the short-term closure of movie theaters, fitness centers, bars and gambling establishments.

Jaime Lopez-Aranda, a Mexico City- based security analyst, stated many individuals and private companies, grasped with worry over contracting the illness, were currently taking individual effort, remaining home and cancelling occasions. And lots of international business have actually purchased their workers to work from home.

“Governors are catching up to something that was already being done,” Lopez-Aranda informs Al Jazeera.

“We are probably in a full-blown epidemic now, but we just don’t know it,” he stated.

International border bridge Paso del Norte, a United States-Mexico land bridge, as seen from Ciudad Juarez, Mexico [Jose Luis Gonzalez/Reuters] 

‘ Driving blind’

In a lot of clients, the coronavirus just causes moderate or moderate signs, however it can lead to extreme health problem in some, specifically the senior and those with pre-existing health conditions.

Lopez Obrador has actually up until now declined to prohibit traveler flights in an effort to safeguard the tourist market, which represents over 8 percent of the Mexicaneconomy He has actually likewise declined to limit local travel or order a massive lockdown on financial activity.  On Friday, authorities revealed that the United States-Mexico land border would near all non-essential traffic.

“Lopez Obrador has a perception that Mexico is not going to be as hard-hit as China, Italy and the United States, and he is happy to let governors take primary responsibility,” stated Eric L Olson, a global fellow at the Wilson.

“But Mexico is very integrated in the global economy, and it is highly unlikely that they could just skip or miraculously avoid any problems,” Olson informed Al Jazeera.

Specialists add that for all his efforts, it is not likely that Lopez Obrador will be successful in protecting the Mexican economy from diminishing offered his nation’s dependence on production, trade and tourist from the United States – and the general global pattern towards an economic crisis. 

And Mexico might end up developing a public health crisis as well as a financial one that is far even worse, which the nation will have a harder time climbing up out of. 

Epidemiologists, on the other hand, state amidst restricted screening and the banning of screening for the infection in private laboratories, it is hard to evaluate how far the infection has actually spread out, or determine the impacts of the limitations currently in location.

“The country is in quarantine light,” stated Alejandro Macias, the former national commissioner for influenza in Mexico throughout the H1N1 (swine influenza) break out.

“We don’t know what is really happening and I think the messages from the authorities have been at times contradictory,” Macias stated. “We are currently driving blind.”

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