On Monday, April 27, mayor Miguel Hidalgo of Mexico City joined the list of local authorities that have implemented extreme measures to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 contagion, such as the curfew, the suspension of the sale of alcoholic beverages and the application of fines for the people who contempt them.
In the case of the capital mayoralty, ruled by The mayor politician Victor Hugo Romo, the measure is to establish the dry law from May 1, only on weekends, in addition to banning the sale of food in the 19 local public markets and tianguis until the end of stage 3.
In addition, the Gendarmerie will make tours to detect parties with music, if they exceed the decibels allowed they will ask for the suspension of the meeting. Persons who do not comply with the provisions will be referred to a civic court, the Mayor’s Station announced.
On 13 April, Animal Político published on the different measures taken by local authorities in different regions of the country to prevent COVID-19 contagion, and that in some cases it had led to state human rights commissions speaking out against them as violating individual guarantees.
Read: Curfews, dry law and border closures, state-imposed measures against COVID-19
Health authorities at the federal level have also spoken out against these measures. At the press conference on Sunday, April 26, Hugo López-Gatell Ramírez, undersecretary of health prevention and promotion, was concerned that some municipalities in the country are using public force as a mechanism of coertion for citizens, because “from a technical point of view of public health this is not a preferred way to reduce mobility”.
He explained that the main reason for not implementing such actions is that the measures of the health authorities were designed “so that the subject of the intervention was not the people”.
He said that contrary to what has happened in other countries such as Western Europe, in Mexico measures to prevent contagion have not focused on people and that is due to the social and economic differences between those nationals and ours.
“The intervention is aimed at the structural elements that make people move. Work, go to school, or have recreational activities; the subject of the action is work, school and recreational spaces, not people… there is no legal justification for such measures,” he said.
From April 13 to date, however, other states and municipalities have taken their own measures to prevent contagion, but they have also taken actions that are far removed from the recommendations issued by health authorities at the federal level.
This is the case of the government of Nuevo León that, on April 25, awarded with caguamas a group of construction workers who worked for forced marches to finish the General Hospital of Sabinas Hidalgo, according to the newspaper ABC Noticias.
After a visit by Governor Jaime Rodríguez to the work to see the progress of the work, the workers were awarded the distribution of caguamas at the end of the official act.
Ironically Sabinas Hidalgo is one of the municipalities that on April 15 implemented a “curfew” among its citizens, in addition its local authorities announced arrests for 36 hours and fines for people who did not comply with the measures imposed.
This was challenged by the State Commission on Human Rights, which ordered not to implement them. Days earlier the state agency had ruled for the same reason against the municipal authorities of Ciénega de Flores, Nuevo León.
In the city of Monterrey, the capital of Nuevo León, there was also a fact that was harshly criticized by social media users. On April 25th the ABC news newspaper reported that after making a report of a party of its neighbors in the middle of COVID-19 contingency, elements of Guardia Civil came to the call, but far from putting order the police left with dishes loaded with grilled meat tacos.
In Guerrero, in the south of the country, a video circulated on April 20 showing community police in the municipality of Teloloapan, tipping boardwork as punishment to people who leave their homes and violate quarantine.
Guerrero is one of the states that according to data from its authorities has 197 communities – of the approximately 5 thousand that the state has – that have decided to close to prevent the passage of the virus. They are concentrated in 65 municipalities, with the majority of the indigenous or mixed population.
On 14 March, Alpoyeca decreed a curfew to prevent contagion by COVID-19 and imposed a fine of 5 thousand pesos for those who did not abid by the measure.
Barricades, sanitizing filter and double does not circulate
In the municipality of Empalme, Sonora, in northwestern Mexico, the municipal authorities placed on April 25 barricades of land as sanitary filters, to prohibit the entry and exit of vehicles. Local media such as El Imparcial reported that it only maintained a single entrance to the city where a sanitizing tunnel was installed, although on April 8, health authorities in Mexico reported that this measure does not work and explained why.
“The concentration of the disinfectant may be insufficient to inactivate the virus and the generated aerosol may facilitate the spread of the virus that may be present in the clothes, hair or belongings of people passing through the tunnel, increasing the risk of virus dispersion,” said the Ministry of Health.
On March 19, Nacozari, Sonora, was the first municipality in Mexico to decree the curfew among its inhabitants, in addition to establishing a series of filters of entry to the city.
On April 23, the mayor of Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua, announced the start of a series of resurfacing works in a major artery in that town, even though two days earlier phase 3 of the coVID-19 contingency had been decreed throughout Mexico.
In Tamaulipas the state authorities established, last Thursday, April 23rd, an agreement that among other things orders a “double does not circulate” in Reynosa, Matamoros, Tampico, Altamira, Madero, Mante, San Fernando, Nuevo Laredo, Victoria and Río Bravo. With the exception of emergency situations, official vehicles or government agencies, the transport of agricultural, fishery, livestock or agro-industrial products, as well as for the transport and movement of duly accredited medical and health personnel.
The authorities indicated that for persons who fail to comply with the measures implemented, they will be eligible for the sanctions established “in Articles 417 and 427 of the General Health Law, as well as 152 and 162 of the Health Law for the State of Tamaulipas”, which without specifying amounts establishes the possibility of imposing fines.
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