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April 2020
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Covid-19 Yucatan Update

Corner store in Tepakan with hand sanitizer at the door

Corner store in Tepakan with hand sanitizer at the door

I have to give the Mexican government high marks for at least seeming as well prepared as possible for what we are all experiencing during this Coronavirus pandemic. The government began by putting in place a six-phase plan for the stages of the emergency.

Phase 1 was when the virus was spread principally by people bringing it from abroad, and Phase 2, which lasted until yesterday, was slow controlled spread from person to person.  Last night Phase 3 was announced.  This is the phase when we will experience the most spread of the virus in all communities with the greatest pressure on our hospitals and medical teams, with the peak estimated to be around May 8 to 10th.   Social distancing has been put in place. Only businesses deemed necessary have been open for more than a month.  Schools, restaurants and bars are closed, and, in fact, Yucatan has been a dry state for the past few weeks.

The main centers of infection have been the larger cities, particularly Mexico City.   In Yucatan, Merida has the highest incidence, but we have so far managed to keep the numbers low.  As of yesterday, the government reported the following numbers:


Total confirmed cases in Mexico …………………     8772

Total recovered ………………………………………….        2627

Total number of dead ……………………………….          712


Total confirmed cases in Yucatan…………………………      172

Total recovered ………………………………………………….         5

Total number of dead …………………………………….          10


As you can see from the above numbers, the measures they have taken (social distancing, gel everywhere, disinfecting cars coming in and out of villages) has helped keep people fairly safe.  There have been one or two cases in most larger towns in Yucatan, but nothing so far in my village of Tepakan.  In addition, to prepare for the medical emergency, the Governor of Yucatan obtained 110 additional ventilators for use in hospitals and ambulances.  That said, we have a huge lack of N95 masks and protective equipment of all kinds.

The hardest thing that has affected almost every family in Yucatan and all of Mexico, is that there is less and less work.  Construction projects are shut down and more and more people are out of work.  For people who live on a few dollars a day, this is becoming more and more difficult.

Yesterday, trucks came to every house handing out one “dispensa” to each family (80,000 total were distributed). A “dispensa” is a box containing some food supplies and soap. It is a help, but not enough to keep everyone fed.  Below is a

Spraying down the car as it enters town

Spraying down the car as it enters town

translation for yesterday’s newspaper, Diario de Yucatan:


Monday, April 20, 2020

Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal launched the delivery of this aid that comes to support families during this period of economic inactivity in the face of the health emergency. Together with the mayor of Mérida, Renán Barrera Concha, Vila Dosal confirmed the distribution plan that is being carried out in the Yucatan capital.

House by house, a total of 80,000 food packages were delivered to each home in the 47 police station districts of Mérida, as well as to homes in the marginalized areas of the capital. This program was launched today by Governor Mauricio Vila Dosal and the Mayor of Mérida, Renán Barrera Concha, to support Yucatecans during this period of economic inactivity due to the Coronavirus pandemic.

In warehouses where the food packages are kept, the Governor and the municipal president of the Yucatan capital verified the distribution plan that will provide this monthly support, so far planned for April and May, to be delivered to the homes of Merida families who need it most.

It was explained that the State Government is distributing 20,500 packages in Merida, and another 43,000 packages to the houses that are located in surrounding areas.

In addition to these efforts, the Merida City Council has already distributed more than 16,500 food aid packages in shelters and civil associations, support that will continue to reach a total of 20,000 people. In this way, it seeks to benefit a greatest number of people.

The aid from the Government of Vila Dosal is part of the State Plan to Promote the Economy, Jobs and Health of Yucatecans. This plan will distribute 1.8 million food packages to 450,000 Yucatecan households during the months of April and May. They hope this will alleviate the economic effects that inactivity is causing due to the health emergency. Starting last Wednesday, April 15,  distribution was also initiated to each home in the 105 municipalities in the interior of the state.

Accompanied by the head of the State Secretariat of Social Development (Sedesol), Roger Torres Peniche, the Governor and Barrera Concha participated in the preparation and loading of the first trucks that left the warehouse with food aid packages to be taken to the door of the beneficiary homes today.

To do this, Vila Dosal and the Meridano mayor followed proscribed sanitary measures, which are also implemented every day to protect the health of the collaborators and the population.

The Municipal President stated that as a sign of this joint work, since the first day the health contingency began, close communication has been maintained within the State Government regarding pertinent measures and creating emerging programs to safeguard the health of all citizens.

Those in charge of carrying the dispensas house-to-house are following the corresponding sanitary protocols, such as using face masks, gloves and keeping a healthy distance with the beneficiaries, in order to guarantee that they reach Yucatecans in the healthiest and safest way possible. .

It must be emphasized that, with the aim of benefiting the largest possible number of people, four food supply packages are being provided per household, which should allow support for most Yucatecan families.

With strategies such as these, the State Government reiterates the call to the entire Yucatecan population not to leave their homes at this time. This is why these packages will be delivered directly house by house, allowing citizens to avoid crowds and prioritize social isolation as the main prevention measure.”