Mexico Ends Covid-19 Health Emergency
By MARK LORENZANA
Mexican Undersecretary of Public Health Hugo López-Gatell announced on the morning of Tuesday, May 9, the lifting of the state of health emergency in Mexico, which ends all covid-19 pandemic-related measures sanctioned by Mexico’s Health Secretariat and the General Health Council.
According to López-Gatell in a press conference Tuesday, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador signed a decree officially ending the health emergency in the country, which comes at the heels of the World Health Organization’s (WHO) decision to issue an end to the global emergency status of covid-19 on Friday, May 5.
López Obrador called for a health emergency in the country on March 23, 2020.
López Gatell explained that Mexico decided to end the emergency due to a continuous downward trend in covid-19 cases, hospitalizations and deaths. In addition, the health undersecretary pointed to the country’s high level of immunity against the virus, either by infection or by vaccination, as well as efficient clinical management of the disease.
“Either because people got infected with covid or were vaccinated, these high levels of immunity are found in all regions of the country,” he said. “Although there were still a large number of cases of covid, fortunately they were no longer accompanied by a significant proportion of people being hospitalized and, much less, deaths as a result of the disease.”
López-Gatell announced that there will be a long-term plan in the country for the monitoring and care of covid-19, since the disease “is here to stay.”
The plan would involve general recommendations for the issuance of work disabilities; surveillance, monitoring and response plans; and a permanent vaccination scheme.
“Covid-19 is already considered an endemic disease, no longer a pandemic; that is, it will remain with us forever, with ebbs and flows, with the virus surely predominating in the cold season,” said López-Gatell. “The incorporation of covid vaccination with modifications to the covid vaccination policy, either permanently or regularly in the universal vaccination program, is an integral part of our long-term plan.”
On the morning of Wednesday, May 3, María Elena Álvarez-Buylla, director of Mexico’s National Council of Science and Technology (Conacyt) announced the completion of Mexico’s own proprietary vaccine, Patria, made in collaboration with Avimex laboratories.
According to Álvarez-Buylla, the newly completed Patria vaccine has been proven as an effective booster against covid-19 and likewise meets the international standards established by the WHO for covid-19 vaccines.
On Thursday, May 4, the WHO’s Emergency Committee convened and recommended that the United Nations (U.N.) declare an end to the coronavirus crisis as a “public health emergency of international concern” — its highest level of alert — which has been in place since Jan. 30, 2020.
“It is therefore with great hope that I declare covid-19 over as a global health emergency,” said WHO Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, adding that the end of the emergency did not mean covid was over as a global health threat.
The global covid-19 death rate has significantly slowed from a peak of more than 100,000 people per week in January 2021 to just over 3,500 per week in April 2023, according to WHO data, which points to the results of widespread vaccination, availability of better treatments and a level of population immunity from previous infections.
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