Mexican states of Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, popular with tourists, are seeing greater numbers of infections.
COVID-19 infections increase all over mexico, especially in two coastal states the home of major tourist destinations that were busy during the holiday season.
Mexican government data shows that Quintana Roo, where tourists flock to Cancun, Tulum and other places along the Mayan Riviera, and Baja California Sur, which beachgoers to the twin Pacific resorts that make up Los Cabos, are experiencing some of their highest infection rates since the beginning of the pandemic.
Baja California Sur saw 700 new infections on December 29, compared to a previous high of less than 600 in July, while Quintana Roo went 488 eight days later from 27 cases on December 20, although it remained below the one-day high of 574 has. in August.
During the holidays, the waterfront and beaches in La Paz, the capital of Baja California Sur sitting on the Sea of Cortez was packed with tourists. Early in the pandemic, they were shut down.
Further south in Los cabos, hotels were at 75 percent of their capacity during the week of Christmas, according to Mexico’s tourism ministry.
Manuel Rapalo of Al Jazeera reported in Mexico City that some public health experts, along with average people, questions the country’s pandemic response in view of the recent increase in infections.
Mexico is one of the few countries that “does not require a negative COVID-19 test for tourists entering the country,” Rapalo said, a policy that has increased visitor numbers but possibly incurs public health costs.
“In December, January, tourism began to rise,” Israel Coto, manager of a hotel-restaurant in La Ventana, about 32 km (20 miles) south of La Paz, told the Associated Press news agency. “People are tired of being locked up.”
Mexico she experienced worst moments of the pandemic about a year ago, when hospitals were overwhelmed and test-confirmed, COVID-19 deaths were more than 1,400 daily.
The country has recorded more than 3.99 million coronavirus cases since the pandemic began, according to data from Johns Hopkins University, as well as more than 299,580 deaths due to the virus. Authorities said the actual number of cases and deaths was probably significantly higher as the official score, however.
“This new variant [Omicron] is very contagious, but fortunately it does not require hospitalization, nor do we have cases of rising deaths, ”said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador Said Tuesday.
More than 57 percent of the population is now fully vaccinated, according to Johns Hopkins. Mexico has also started a third booster dose to vulnerable groups, including the elderly and health workers. Teachers will start receiving the booster in the coming days.
Meanwhile, the increase in infections has led to a dozen of Mexico’s 32 states delaying return to classes after the holidays. While many students returned to school Monday, those other states, including Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur, delayed the start until January 17th.
Major population centers, including the state of Mexico, which contains many of the capital’s suburbs, as well as Guadalajara and Monterrey, are also seeing increasing infections.
Local governments are also stepping up their testing efforts. In La Paz, long queues were visible outside COVID-19 testing centers this week.
Mexico kept its borders open throughout the pandemic, although traffic was at the shared border with the United States restricted to essential movements to November. Airports did require travelers to fill out a health form and many checked the temperatures for a while.