Sun. Mar 29th, 2020

Mexico intensifies coronavirus fight by suspending government work



Almost a month after the first case of COVID-19, the Mexican government suspended from Thursday the non-essential activities of the federal administration, so only areas considered strategic, such as health, public safety, energy and water, will operate.

The paralysis of the dependencies surprised citizens such as Martín Gutiérrez, a man from the city of Guanajuato who moved to Mexico City to carry out a procedure at the Ministry of the Interior (Segob), where he expressed his annoyance at the measures, unheard of for the Government.

“Practically everything is paralyzed. My procedure was nothing more than to deliver documents in official parties, that there is no problem in delivering my documents. I suggest that people do not believe this false pandemic,” he told Efe.

After resisting drastic measures, the Government of Mexico entered phase 2 of the coronavirus epidemic this week, when community infections are already taking place.

Currently, there are six officially confirmed deceased and 475 cases.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced this Thursday, in his morning conference, that he will incorporate an addendum to a decree issued this week in which he asked companies to excuse their employees with pay, especially older adults and pregnant women.

“In the case of government workers too, if they do not have a necessary function of serving the population, they can be at home,” said the president, adding that they will maintain “the same income and the same benefits.”

CLOSE HALF

In a tour of the Mexican capital, Efe found a contrast in the measures taken by the agencies.

The main access of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) remained closed under the protection of security employees with masks, with only an open back door where guards distributed antibacterial gel for some officials.

The Segob headquarters and some buildings of the Ministry of Welfare were open, but with greater access restrictions.

Meanwhile, the Senate of the Republic concluded its regular session this week, but installed a permanent commission to deal with legislation related to the coronavirus, so employees of the Upper House took the temperature of those who had to enter.

Other agencies, such as the Tax Administration Service (SAT), remained open with the usual number of employees, but with limited hours of attention to the public.

At the local level, the decision depends on each state government, as shown by the case of Verónica Chacón, a worker in the Collective Transportation System (STC) of the Mexico City Metro who recognizes the fundamental work that she must perform.

“I am a driver, so for me this situation does not really exist. Right now is my day off. You have to do things, make payments, go to the bank, etc.,” she told Efe.

PROTECTING THE ECONOMY

At the presidential press conference, Hugo López-Gatell, undersecretary for Prevention and Health Promotion, argued that Mexico cannot restrict economic activity as in other countries due to existing inequality.

Similarly, businessmen like Ricardo Salinas Pliego, founder of TV Azteca and Grupo Salinas, have asked not to slow down the economy due to the virus.

“We know that fear is a very bad advisor; instead, reason tells us that life must continue. The decision to stop the march of a country does not produce anything positive, especially when it is based on fear, on a false premise : that COVID-19 means death, “Salinas tweeted this week.

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