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Violent COVID deniers hold back health care workers in Chiapas

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Suspicious locals have reacted with violence against efforts to control coronavirus in Chiapas. Photo: Facebook

Medical workers and elected officials have faced death threats and property damage for trying to fight coronavirus in Chiapas, the state with Mexico’s highest positive-testing rate.

Nearly 60 out of 100 people tested in Chiapas are found to have coronavirus, the highest positive rate in Mexico.

But bringing testing and health care to some regions in the state have proven fraught with danger.

Homes have been destroyed and a medical clinic was vandalized by local groups who deny the existence of COVID-19. Efforts to contain the virus with disinfectant drones fueled rumors that residents were actually being poisoned.

In May, hundreds of angry locals protested by burning the Venustiano Carranza city hall as well as the home of the mayor, his inlaws and his mother. Looters cleaned out a department store and attacked an IMSS mobile unit that was sent to test for coronavirus.

On June 10, more people threatened to destroy and burn an IMSS rural clinic in Guadalupe Tepeyac after an elderly man with coronavirus died there. The director of the clinic was beaten, according to local media reports, forcing staff to abandon the space.

The clinic had served thousands of people in 10 municipalities, according to El Universal.

On June 11, hundreds in Villa de las Rosas damaged three homes owned by elected officials, a state health ministry clinic and an ambulance after a plan emerged to spray the park and other public areas with disinfectant.

Fighting dengue, which is spread by mosquitos, is also a challenge where chemical spraying is looked at with suspicion. On June 12 and 13, hundreds of indigenous Tzotzil destroyed the San Andrés Larráinzar Health Secretariat clinic and damaged an ambulance after the city council fumigated the park and streets near the church and city hall.

Additionally, two more homes owned by local politicians were burned down.

Of the hundreds of people involved in the attacks, only four people have been detained so far.

Source: El Universal

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