Severity: Critical Alert

Entry/Exit: As of June 1, officials in Mexico maintain most restrictions nationwide. Border restrictions with the US in place through June 22.

This alert affects Mexico

This alert began 01 Jun 2020 11:40 GMT and is scheduled to expire 08 Jun 2020 23:59 GMT.

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

Summary
Officials in Mexico announced the beginning of a new phase of the efforts to curb the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) June 1, while maintaining restrictions in most of the country. State authorities will now be in charge of imposing the measures to curb the disease under the guidelines of a federal risk-level system, which goes from green, meaning the lowest risk of virus transmission, to red, the highest risk of virus transmission. As of June 1, all states and Mexico City remain on risk-level red, except for Zacatecas, which is in orange, the second-highest risk of virus transmission. The risk-level system will be updated weekly by national authorities.

At risk-level red, only essential businesses, including those related to food, security, communications, public utilities, critical manufacturing, and critical healthcare services, will be allowed to operate. Mining, construction, and transport manufacturing have also been added to the list of essential businesses. At risk level orange, some nonessential businesses and services, such as retail businesses and recreational activities, may resume; however, authorities in Zacatecas will maintain restrictions on malls, parks, gyms, and event venues, and have kept a ban on gatherings of more than 20 people. In-person lessons in schools will only be allowed to resume at risk-level green. Authorities continue to urge residents to remain at home as much as possible and to wear a face mask and follow social distancing guidelines whenever in public.

Despite the guidelines, some states that remain on risk-level red have announced the easing of restrictions on businesses. Most businesses in Aguascalientes will be allowed to reopen, except gyms, bars, cinemas, and night clubs. In Coahuila, restaurants and retailers will reopen partially. In Jalisco, Michoacan, Nuevo Leon, San Luis Potosi, Sinaloa, and Tamaulipas, nonessential businesses will be allowed to reopen, albeit with limitations. In Quintana Roo, tourism businesses will start reopening June 8.

Additionally, since May 18, officials in 269 municipalities have been allowed to ease restrictions due to the low COVID-19 activity within their jurisdictions. Of the townships that have benefited, 171 are in the state of Oaxaca, while 17 are in Sonora, 14 in Puebla, 12 in Jalisco, 11 in Veracruz, and 10 in Guerrero. Most social and economic activities can resume in these localities, including in-person lessons in schools. The government selected these particular locations because they and their neighboring municipalities have not reported any confirmed COVID-19 cases.

Authorities in Mexico also maintain the closure of the US border for all nonessential ground travel through at least June 22, following an agreement between authorities from both countries. Commercial and humanitarian travel will not be affected by the closure, which has been in place since March 21. Recreational boat travel will also remain banned. Authorities in Mexico continue to advise its citizens to avoid all international travel.

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.


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