Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: Authorities in Mexico extend closure of nonessential businesses through at least May 30 to stem the spread of COVID-19.

This alert affects Mexico

This alert began 17 Apr 2020 16:06 GMT and is scheduled to expire 15 May 2020 23:59 GMT.

  • Incident: COVID-19 restrictions
  • Location(s): Nationwide (map)
  • Time Frame: Through at least May 30
  • Impact: Business, transport, and travel disruptions; heightened security

Summary
Officials in Mexico have extended orders to close nonessential businesses and cancel nonessential activities through at least May 30 as part of the nation's efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Among the essential sectors that officials will allow to continue operating are businesses and organizations involved in emergency response, medical care, pharmacies, medical equipment production and distribution, food production and distribution, security, transport, energy, communications, and critical manufacturing. Essential government services will also continue to be provided. Authorities have also extended mandatory orders for residents 60 years of age or older and people with health problems to remain inside their homes, unless for performing essential tasks, through at least May 30. Authorities have advised, but not ordered, the remainder of the population to do the same.

The national government has identified 979 municipalities with little or no cases of COVID-19 and has extended restrictions there only through May 16. If those areas remain mostly free from contagion, businesses could resume activities May 17.

Mexico closed its border with the US to all nonessential ground travel starting March 21; the closure will remain in effect until April 21, though it is likely to be extended for an additional 30 days. Authorities in both countries have said commerce and emergency services will not be affected by the closure. The Mexican government has advised its citizens to avoid nonessential travel abroad.

Authorities in Mexico City and at least ten states - Nuevo Leon, Puebla, Morelos, Tamaulipas, Quintana Roo, Oaxaca, Durango, Coahuila, Guanajuato, and Yucatan - have ordered residents to wear protective masks whenever they are in public or using public transport. In the state of Sonora, officials have issued a stay-at-home order through at least April 30. Residents are only allowed to leave their homes to obtain basic goods, attend a medical issue, care for a person in need, or go to work at an essential business.

Authorities could expand or extend their preventative measures and movement restrictions over the coming days and weeks. All restrictions are subject to amendment at short notice.

Background and Analysis
The measures taken by authorities in Mexico are similar to actions taken by other governments globally in recent weeks in response to the spread of COVID-19. COVID-19 is a viral respiratory disease caused by infection with the SARS-CoV-2 virus (previously known as 2019-nCoV). Symptoms occur 1-14 days following exposure (average of 3-7 days). These symptoms include fever, fatigue, cough, difficulty breathing, sometimes worsening to pneumonia and kidney failure - especially in those with underlying medical conditions. The World Health Organization (WHO) declared the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak a pandemic March 11.

Advice
Follow all official instructions. Abide by national health and safety measures. Reconfirm all travel arrangements. Consider delaying traveling if experiencing symptoms associated with COVID-19, as they may prompt increased scrutiny and delays. Liaise with trusted contacts for further updates and guidance. Maintain contact with your diplomatic representation. Ensure contingency plans account for further disruptive measures or extensions of current restrictions.

Emphasize basic health precautions, especially frequent handwashing with soap and water, or an alcohol-based hand sanitizer if soap and water are unavailable. Practice good coughing/sneezing etiquette (i.e., covering coughs and sneezes with a disposable tissue, maintaining distance from others, and washing hands). There is no evidence that the influenza vaccine, antibiotics, or antiviral medications will prevent this disease, highlighting the importance of diligent basic health precautions.

Resources
WHO coronavirus knowledge base: www.who.int

Mexico Department of Health - COVID-19 Updates: https://coronavirus.gob.mx

Health Emergency Guidelines: www.csg.gob.mx