So it’s 25 days since Mexico reported its first three cases of the Coronavirus and I thought it was about time I captured a bit of what has been going on here.
Since the initial report on 28 February, 2020, numbers have risen to 316, with two deaths. The graph has an ominous exponential look about it.
As with other countries, numbers are almost certainly under-reported due to lack of testing.
The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, has come under fire for his bizarre and blase attitude towards the growing threat, claiming his religion would protect him, and hugging and kissing supporters at rallies.
“The protective shield is the ‘Get thee behind me, Satan,'” López Obrador said, reading off the inscription on the amulet, “Stop, enemy, for the Heart of Jesus is with me.”Mexican Presidentt, Andrés Manuel López Obrador.
A ceremony to induct 2,740 National Guardsmen in the capital went ahead last week with over 5,000 people in attendance, running contrary to protocols in place in almost every country in the world. Prohibitions on gatherings of over 1,000 people take effect from today. Museums, nightclubs and gyms are also being closed in the capital.
Lisa and I are holing up in Playa del Carmen for the duration of the crisis. To date there have been 22 reported cases in the state of Quintana Roo (19 in Cancun, 3 in Playa del Carmen). Yesterday’s number was 12. Eight of the affected are Mexicans and 14 are foreign citizens. Inbound tourism has virtually stopped so hopefully the state can get ahead of the curve. With Semana Santa (Easter) approaching in a couple of weeks, there will potentially be an influx of Mexican tourists to tourist hotspots like Cancun and Playa. Hopefully the government will aim to curtail this given the infected numbers reported in other parts of the country, and the likely escalation in these over the next few weeks.
Initially Lisa and I had been planning to fly to Cuba in early April to spend a month there before heading on to Panama.
The Panama side is pretty similar, with all international flights cancelled. Panama has also barred admission to individuals who are not citizens or residents. All incoming travelers are subject to a mandatory 14-day in-home quarantine, regardless of nationality.
We still have Airbnb bookings for Panama in June and will be monitoring the situation closely. Otherwise we might have a few more months in Playa sitting by the pool in glorious isolation.
Speaking of Airbnb, we’ve been pretty happy with the changes to their refunds policy which allowed us to cancel our short-term bookings in Mexico and Cuba at no charge. Though this hasn’t helped their bottom line much.
Stay safe everyone and remember to keep your distance.