Health officials in Mexico expected to see an uptick in Covid cases during the busy summer travel months but cases are rising at an alarming rate, which has led the Governor of Cancun to ask tourists to wear masks indoors again. Last week the government announced that it was holding off on reinstating restrictions, as hospitalizations have remained low. But now with more than 300 new cases being registered in a 24-hour period, officials are starting to worry, as millions of tourists are expected to visit the city this summer.
Throughout the pandemic, Cancun has continued to get visitors from all over the world, which has been great for the economy but risky in regards to the virus. This is why the mask mandate for indoor spaces continued for so long, only being lifted a few months ago when Covid cases really started to decline. Now the new increase in cases has led to officials asking residents and visitors to wear masks in enclosed spaces again but no official mandate has been issued yet.
During the pandemic Mexico used a “traffic light” system for defining the seriousness of the Covid-19 virus at any given moment. Red meant that cases were high and the most extreme precautions were to be taken, while green meant cases were low and restrictions were lowered. When Cancun officials removed the mask mandate for both indoors and outdoors, the “traffic light” had been at green for an extended period of time at that point.
When officials decided to lift the mask mandate, they announced to the public that the Covid-19 “traffic light” would stay at green permanently. Now as case numbers grow every day, it remains to be seen if the system will be enacted again. For now, masks indoors and social distancing are the only changes that the people and visitors in Cancun are being asked to make, most likely due in part to the high vaccination rate in the city, which helps stop the spread.
Despite the request by Governor Carlos Joaquín González for people to wear masks inside, not everyone is following the suggestion. Few people can be found wearing the face coverings at Cancun International Airport, the one place where masks are the most important because it is filled with travelers from all over the world that could be carrying the virus. Many countries, including the United States, have also lifted their mask mandates as well, making the potential for transmission much higher all around.
More than 80 percent of the population is currently vaccinated with two doses of the vaccine. During the beginning of the year when millions of tourists were visiting Cancun for spring break and the Easter holiday, health officials were even offering tourists vaccines. Now vaccines are being made available to the younger generation in an effort to lower the rate of contraction again.
Although the Covid-19 virus still exists in Cancun and in the rest of Mexico, it has been being treated more like an endemic than a pandemic since the case numbers have started to significantly go down. The virus will likely stick around on that level for quite some time, and even longer if people do not continue to get the vaccine boosters and follow some prevention protocols. This is the only way to keep it below pandemic level so that people all over the world can continue to live their normal lives.
While there are no official restrictions in place at this time, there may be in the future if the general public does not take precautions on their own. In order to keep numbers down, everyone visiting Cancun should heed the governor’s warning.
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