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Rise in COVID Cases Could Activate Emergency Button

October 08, 2020

"There are those who think that the emergency button is just a threat to try to make people comply with their responsibilities. Believe me that it is not..." Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro warned.
Puerto Vallarta, Jalisco, Mexico - In a video message posted to social media on Monday, Jalisco Governor Enrique Alfaro warned that stricter restrictions on economic activities could be imposed if the number of new coronavirus cases continues to increase as it has over the past two weeks.

"A lot of people, mainly adolescents and young adults, have stopped following the health measures designed to stop the spread of the coronavirus. They're going out to do nonessential activities without [taking] the necessary care. The shopping centers are full of people just walking around, the tourist centers are packed, and the bars and restaurants are full," he said.

"The most worrying thing is that many of the people who are out and about have stopped using face masks, and a lot of businesses have stopped applying the measures established in the current protocols. This reality is reflected in hard data: infections are increasing among the young population, who are taking the least amount of precaution," Governor Alfaro said.

The governor said that 40% of new infections are occurring in people aged 15 to 34, adding that while they are "more resistant" and thus less likely to have a serious illness they can still infect their parents and grandparents, who are "at much greater risk of dying."

According to Jalisco government data, as of October 5th, 73,910 coronavirus cases had been detected in the state since the start of the pandemic and 3,398 people had lost their lives to Covid-19.

Alfaro said the number of active cases rose above 4,000 during the past week and that the number of new cases detected per week per 1 million inhabitants had increased to 360 from 285 two weeks prior.

He said that if the weekly incidence of new cases exceeds 400 per 1 million inhabitants, and hospital occupancy increases above 50% (it is currently 19%), he will be forced to activate the "emergency button," which would bring almost all economic activities to a "dead stop" for 14 days.

"There are those who think that the button is just a threat to try to make people comply with their responsibilities. Believe me that it is not. We have shown that we know how to take decisions, as difficult as they might be, to look after Jalisco residents and that's what we'll continue to do," the Governor said in his message on social networks.

The governor said that 92% of economic activities have resumed in Jalisco but there is no possibility that the other 8% will be able to restart in the short term. "We cannot yet allow the return of people to sports stadiums or any kind of event that draws large crowds. Regrettably, we cannot yet think about the return of in-person classes," Alfaro said.

"We have to move forward with caution and take care with every step we take so that we don't regret it later," he added before urging mayors to ensure that coronavirus restrictions and mitigation measures are enforced in their communities. "Without your support the strategy that we have built cannot work," Alfaro said. "Rules are there to be complied with, and I trust that municipal authorities will once again enforce this principle."

Organizations such as the Jalisco Council of Industrial Chambers (CCIJ) warned that closing businesses again would not only be a serious setback to the slow recovery of the economy, but would also imply the loss of some 12,000 jobs in the state.

Sources: El Universal (sp) Mexico News Daily (en)