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17 Mar 2020 | 03:23 AM UTC

Mexico: School breaks extended amid COVID-19 spread March 14 /update 1

Government calls for school break extensions due to COVID-19 pandemic on March 14; take precautions against virus

health
MEX

Event

On Saturday, March 14, the Education Ministry announced that school and university Easter breaks will be extended for all amid efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19). The break will now take place between Saturday, March 21, and Sunday, April 19. The Health Ministry has advised the government to cancel gatherings of greater than 5000 people, though the government has not sought to do that as of Tuesday, March 17. Few other measures, such as entry restrictions, have been implemented to control the spread of the virus.

As of March 17, there are 53 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Mexico. Further spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.

Context

The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.

Advice

Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly, and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.

To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:

  • Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
  • When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
  • If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.