The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, encouraged Mexicans to “stay home” in order to prevent the spread of the new coronavirus, in a radical change in his stance after the increase in cases and deaths linked to the pandemic.
“Now what we want is for everyone to stay home, with their families, also help us to keep a healthy distance and that there is good hygiene,” López Obrador said in a message broadcast on Friday night on his social networks.
The president’s message came after the Mexican Health Secretariat reported 717 positive cases of COVID-19 on Friday and 12 died. The balance represents an increase of 132 cases and four deaths in 24 hours.
“I have said and I believe that more than hospitals, we have to take care of ourselves, it is better to prevent than to regret,” said López Obrador, known by the acronym AMLO.
It is a substantial change in the president’s stance towards the crisis of the new coronavirus, which has forced a third of the world’s population to confine themselves to their homes to prevent the virus from spreading.
Until a few days ago, AMLO continued to recommend the population to go out and continue their daily activities, including not to stop hugging or shaking hands, despite the health recommendations.
His behavior has been the target of strong criticism from different sectors, including the non-governmental organization Human Rights Watch (HRW), which considered the Mexican president to be “dangerous” in the face of a world pandemic.
“If we don’t retreat to our homes, the infection cases are going to shoot up, and the hospitals, the beds are going to saturate us, even when we are prepared. It will be somewhat overwhelming,” the president said on Friday.
However, López Obrador will keep his activities scheduled for this Saturday and Sunday in northern Mexico, where he has scheduled visits in the states of Sonora and Sinaloa.