Tourist maritime cruises in which people infected with coronavirus travel may disembark in Mexican ports if they request it, as announced this Tuesday in a statement by the Ministry of Health. This announcement comes days after the authorities of the State of Jalisco prohibited docking on its coasts a boat in which several passengers infected by covid-19 were traveling. “With regard to a cruise that was denied access in two maritime ports of our country, it is reported that it will be received in the port of Guaymas, Sonora, with the support of the Government of that entity,” the Health message clarified.
While the United States is launching investigations into the increase in COVID-19 infections on cruise ships and some Caribbean countries deny entry to vessels that have infected passengers on board, Mexico has announced that “in the event that people who traveling on cruise ships with symptoms of covid-19 disease or a positive test for the SARS-CoV-2 virus, they will be provided with the required medical attention ”.
The positive ones will have to be quarantined and, if they are patients in a serious condition, they will be hospitalized. “People who do not show symptoms will be able to carry out their tourist activities with respect to basic prevention measures,” the statement added. The Ministry of Health has ensured that the measure is about a “policy of solidarity and fraternity, as well as the principle of non-discrimination towards all people”, and refers to the “commitment to respect what is established in the international health regulations of the World Health Organization (WHO) ”.
The decision follows the logic that Mexico has maintained of not imposing restrictions on tourism, which represents 8.5% of the country’s Gross Domestic Product, one of the favorite tourist destinations of the cruise route, which in 2019 alone generated revenues of more than 600 million dollars. With the arrival of the omicron variant of coronavirus – official figures do not register more than forty cases in Mexico – the authorities have not taken special measures. Meanwhile, an outbreak of infections that has the rest of Latin America alert has forced Europe and the United States to renew their restrictions and cancel flights. Hugo López-Gatell, the undersecretary of Health, has taken away the iron from the severity of the new strain this Tuesday during the daily press conference of President Andrés Manuel López-Obrador: “It is clearly more transmissible, but it produces less serious disease.”
The undersecretary has defended that hospitalizations in the country remain at a low level and is confident in the high levels of vaccination – 88% of the population over 18 years of age has been immunized. The incidence rate at present is 3,067.2 accumulated cases per 100,000 inhabitants. In Mexico, since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, 3,956,372 positives and 298,944 deaths have been registered from the disease, according to this Tuesday’s report from the Ministry of Health, although the Government itself has already recognized that the real figure could be more than double.
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George Holan is chief editor at Plainsmen Post and has articles published in many notable publications in the last decade.