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COVID maps: Yucatán making progress but restrictions remain

Tourists flock in, often with dire consequences

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Yucatán is upgraded from orange to yellow under a national stoplight system that assesses coronavirus risk. But the state’s own map will keep Yucatán under orange alert for now. Graphic: Government of Mexico

In another case of dueling epidemiological stoplights, the federal government has declared Yucatán will advance from orange to yellow-level alerts.

But Yucatán is sticking to its more stringent orange status, keeping a cap on restaurant and hotel capacity as tourists with no evidence of vaccination flood in.

Nationally, 17 states previously under the green light were downgraded, suggesting a return to tougher measures to combat coronavirus.

Tourist-dependent Quintana Roo and Baja California Sur slide backward from yellow to orange following a record surge in new COVID-19 cases. One hotel in Cancún has allocated two floors for guests with COVID symptoms, according to Bloomberg. A total of 13 states are in orange and 15 are in yellow under the updated national map, which takes effect Monday.

Yucatán will be joined in yellow by Baja California, Campeche, Chihuahua, Durango, Guanajuato, Michoacán, Morelos, Puebla, Querétaro, San Luis Potosí, Sonora, Tabasco, Tlaxcala and Zacatecas.

Aguascalientes, Chiapas and Coahuila are in green while Sinaloa is the lone red-light state.

Tourists flock in

In June, just over 2 million tourists flew to Cancún while over half a million landed in Los Cabos, even more than before the pandemic.

“The Delta variant has a strong presence in the Yucatán Peninsula, particularly Quintana Roo and in Baja California Sur, where around 80% of new tests are now Delta,” said Alejandro Macias, who oversaw Mexico’s H1N1 epidemic in 2009.

Two honeymooners from Oklahoma told Bloomberg that contracting COVID during their trip to Cancún was an exercise in misery.

After testing positive before their flight home, they were escorted back to their room and agreed to remain quarantined. The hotel also reneged on a promise to discount their stay, said Linda and Trey Ray.

“We could only order room service, there were only five to six items we could choose from,” Ray said. “We asked for medication several times and were brought three out of the six things we asked for. They didn’t clean the room after we tested positive. We ran out of toilet paper for a few days.”

In Mexico City, the Delta variant is now predominant although deaths are still relatively low since about 69% of the city’s adult population have received at least one vaccine shot, said a local health official. But hospital occupancy rose to 28% from 7% in just a month.

With information from Sipse, Bloomberg

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