As the whole world has had to completely turn their lives “up side down” turning our daily rush into social distancing, Mexico has not been an exception. On 30th March Mexico officially declared a state of health emergency when the number of active cases with Covid-19 passed 1.000. The new regulations that were imposed included the suspension of nonessential activity until April 30. People have been encouraged to stay off the streets and the traffic has decreased by 60%. The critics have accused the President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador of not taking the situation seriously and downplaying it. Despite the complaints towards the government’s actions Dr.Btancourt, who is the president of the Mexican Society of Public Health has been reassuring the citizens that there is still plenty of time to avoid the outbreak. The authorities have guaranteed that the schools will be closed at least until April 30 and the essential work places will have to obey the regulations of maximum gatherings of 50 and frequent hand washing.
I have had a chance to speak to Edgar Acostas, who a lives in Mexico City about his opinion on the situation.
Inna Ostapenko: Hi Edgar, can you tell about what is happening, what do you think about the regulations the government has implemented in regards to the pandemic?
Edgar Acostas: In my opinion the Mexican government has taken some good measures to stop the spread of the coronavirus, but those are not enough. A lot of people are not able to afford staying at home because there is a big number of workers who do not have any contracts or permission. So I think the government should have been more supportive towards those people because now, they are still doing their work illegally one way or another just because because they need money.
So the regulations are not enough?
Yes. I think the government should have implemented stricter controls like they did in Italy or Spain.
The people who are still working even illegally are aware of the pandemic. Do you think they are somehow downplaying the situation?
The biggest problem that I see in Mexico is the people. The government, like every government in every country has done a lot. But In Mexico, people don’t like following the rules and moreover they do not have that much financial support like they do in the U.S. and Europe. So people don’t have much left to do, but continue selling, for example on the streets.
Ok, you said that the government does not provide any support like they do in Europe and the United States, do you think there could be some specific strategies that could work out?
Unfortunately, I feel like our government is lacking economic intelligence to create the strategy that would specifically work for people who are living with their daily income. That is a huge problem. There are lots of people who need either more buyers or help from the government.
Thank you, Edgar. We all hope Mexico will get out of this situation with as few losses as possible, but with the new ideas and strengths.
According to the Swiss Bank UBS stated: “More so than any other previous crisis Mexico has been hit by, this is one where global demand will be simultaneously impaired.” UBS is also predicting Mexico’s economy to shrink 7.6% and the Mexico’s benchmark interest rate is currenty at 6.5%.
On April 16, Hugo Lopez – Gatel confirmed the existing measures on social distancing that have been previously implemented will be extended until 30th May. The undersecretary of Health added that in case the spread of COVID 19 is to decrease, the regulations may be lifted starting from May 17.
As the world will have a lot to adopt to including reorganizing the national budgets, the criticism towards the governments is inevitable and there is no other way, but to accept the situation with the empathy towards each other.
Author: Inna Ostapenko