Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell said the call on citizens to stay at home will last until April 19, and that the extension of the social isolation period is currently being analyzed. During the March 28 COVID-19 daily briefing, López-Gatell said this is Mexico’s “last chance” to prevent the health crisis from becoming unstoppable, as has happened in other countries.
“The only way to reduce transmission today is by staying in our houses, doing so on a large scale and for the stipulated one-month period,” López-Gatell said. After reporting 848 confirmed cases and 16 deaths, the officer explained that Mexico is going through a phase in which infections are accelerating, and that if everyone follows the protocol is it possible to prevent the number of new cases.
As of Saturday, March 28
131 new cases (from yesterday)
848 confirmed cases nationwide
2,623 under investigation
S&P downgrades CFE
On Thursday night, Standard & Poor's downgraded the Federal Electricity Commission (CFE) credit rating to BBB from BBB+, in line with the PEMEX and the sovereign note downgrades. S&P noted CFE's critical role for the government, given its monopoly on electricity transmission and distribution. The federal government’s efforts to reduce private sector participation in the energy sector and dwindling investor confidence are the main reasons behind S&P’s decision.
Gov. Fayad tests positive
Hidalgo Gov. Omar Fayad stated today that he has tested positive for COVID-19. “I am already in quarantine at home. Both myself and the people with whom I have had contact are following the protocols established by the Ministry of Health,” he wrote on his Twitter account. Fayad added that he will still lead state administration efforts to contain the pandemic. “Nothing will stop us to overcome this crisis together,” he said.
Ministry of Health can use private sector
The Ministry of Health can use the private sector to supply all medical resources needed to fight the COVID-19 pandemic, according to a decree signed by President Andrés Manuel López Obrador and published in the Official Gazette of the Federation (DOF).
SECTUR predicts percent plunge
The Ministry of Tourism (SECTUR) predicts a fall of more than 10 percent in tourist figures this year compared to last year’s results due to the global health crisis. “Arrival of international tourists by air will decrease 12.1 percent compared to December 2019, reaching 17.3 million tourists”, SECTUR head Miguel Torruco stated in his Twitter account.
National Lottery stops draws
The National Lottery announced the cancellation of all scheduled draws from March 29 to April 19, as part of the contingency plan. The agency reported that ticket holders of cancelled draws will be able to exchange their tickets for future draws but only once authorities decide that people can resume their regular activities.
More control for public spaces
The Ministry of Health have established regulations that order closed public spaces to implement safety measures at their entrances. Antibacterial gel, a symptom detection questionnaire and screenings must be used in all offices, shopping centers, supermarkets, theaters and public transport stations.
Labor Day parade suspended
Labor Congress leaders have said that the Labor Day parade that traditionally takes place on May 1 in the Mexico’s City Zocalo, will be suspended due to the health crisis.
The Ministry of Health reported 132 new cases of COVID-19 as of Friday at 13:00 hours, raising the total number of confirmed cases in Mexico to 717, the ministry’s Director of Epidemiological Information Christian Arturo Zaragoza has reported. Four more patients were reported to have died since yesterday’s briefing, meaning the total number of deaths moves to 12. Zaragoza detailed five deaths in Mexico City, three in Jalisco, two in San Luis Potosí, and one each in, Durango and Michoacán. Of the total confirmed cases, only 54 were due to transmission between in the community who had not been in contact people recently returned to Mexico, the officer said. Puebla, the State of Mexico, Jalisco and Nuevo León each report between 51 to 100 cases, taking them to the top of the table for cases reported.
As of Friday, March 27
132 new cases (from yesterday)
717 confirmed cases nationwide
2,475 under investigation
Impact on markets (19.45 hrs)
US Dollar MX$23.51 (1.80%)
BMV IPC 33,799.49 (-5.34%)
Dow Jones 22,101.61 (-2.0%)
Governors ask to close border
Governors Jaime Rodríguez from Nuevo León, Miguel Riquelme from Coahuila and Francisco García Cabeza de Vaca from Tamaulipas urged the federal government to consider closing the US border arguing that the COVID-19 pandemic is coming into Mexico from the US. After the second regional meeting to discuss their joint strategy to contain the pandemic, the three governors agreed that measures taken at a state level will not be effective unless a stronger sanitary control strategy at the border implemented by federal authorities.
US Ambassador ask countrymen to leave Mexico
US Ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau urged US tourists who are in Mexican territory to return to their country. “If you are a tourist in Mexico or anywhere, we ask you to go home,” he said in a video message broadcasted on social media. Landau also said that US citizens who are residents in Mexico must assess their situation. “If you are a resident in Mexico, please think carefully about your personal situation, and if you will need the kind of intensive care that is available in the US”, he said.
Another bad week for the Mexican Mix
The prospect of lower global energy demand is still dragging down oil markets worldwide, as the price of the Mexican export mix marked its fifth week of free fall. National crude was sold this Friday at US$13.01 per barrel, 17.55 percent less than last Friday’s quote, and reaching its lowest value in 18 year. The lowest ever recorded was in November 2001, when it plunged to US$12.15 per barrel.
Ventilators from China
President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said another 5,000 ventilators are going to be acquired from China as an additional supply to face the COVID-19 pandemic. “Yesterday I signed a decree so that the Ministry of Health can urgently acquire all the equipment it needs, without all the regular paper work. Ventilators are needed. We have 5,000 and we have ordered 5,000 more,” he said.
Citibanamex gives support
Citibanamex announced this Friday that it will allow personal and SMEs loan payments to be postponed for up to six months. In a statement, the banks said the plan includes customers with credit cards and personal, payroll, mortgage and SMEs loans. None will be charged with interests or late payment fees.
Worse than the 2009 crisis
The COVID-19 pandemic has driven the global economy into a downturn that will require massive funding to help emerging markets, IMF chief Kristalina Georgieva said Friday. “It is clear that we have entered a recession that will be worse than in 2009 following the global financial crisis”, she said. To overcome the worldwide economic slowdown, the IMF estimates that US$2.5 trillion will be needed only for emerging markets.
SAT asks for support
The Tax Administration Service (SAT) urged all taxpayers in Mexico to comply with their annual declaration to help the nation cope with the health emergency following Mexico’s entrance into Phase 2 of the virus spread. The agency asked all companies and individuals to present their declarations in March and April.
The death of two patients, 110 new confirmed cases and 2,965 patients who have tested negative for the COVID-19 virus were all reported today by Ana Lucía de la Garza Barroso, director of Epidemiological and Operational Research in the Ministry of Health. During the March 26 COVID-19 press briefing, De la Garza highlighted that smoking, liver failure, asthma, obesity, diabetes and immunosuppression were the main health factors associated with those who have died. Likewise, the groups of people over 65 and those between 55 and 59 have the highest number of deaths.
As of Thursday, March 26
110 new cases (from yesterday)
585 confirmed cases nationwide
2,156 under investigation
Impact on markets (19.45 hrs)
US Dollar MX$23.09 (-4.93%)
BMV IPC 35,706.57 (0.48%)
Dow Jones 22,206.02 (4.74%)
S&P lowers Mexico’s sovereign debt rating
Standard and Poor’s lowered Mexico’s sovereign debt rating from BBB+ to BBB, the agency has reported. The impact on the Mexican economy from the COVID-19 crisis in both Mexico and the US, as well as a sharp drop in international oil prices, were the main reasons behind the lowered rating. “These shocks, although temporary, will worsen the already weak growth trend for 2020-2023, which somehow reflects a decreasing confidence from the private sector and lack of investment,” Standard and Poor’s said in a statement.
Mexican peso sees third day of gains
The Mexican peso hit a third day of gains against the US dollar after the greenback saw its value weakening in international markets. According to Banxico, the Mexican currency appreciated 3.36 percent, or 81 cents, in yesterday’s session, ending the day at MX$23.18 per dollar. A sharp increase in unemployment reported in the US and the fiscal package approved by the US Senate had a major impact on the US dollar in international markets, letting other currencies take back some of the ground lost in recent weeks.
Mexican export mix plunges
After recording increases of 4.76 and 4.86 percent on Tuesday and Wednesday, respectively, the Mexican export mix fell 12.89 percent to US$14.67 per barrel on Thursday. The short-term expectation for crude oil remained weak as the COVID-19 pandemic progresses and confinement measures threaten to dramatically reduce fuel demand. So far this year the Mexican mix has an accumulated loss of 73.8 percent from starting 2020 at US$56.00. The international benchmarks WTI and Brent closed today with falls of 4.60 and 2.14 percent, at US$24.15 and US$27.51 per barrel, respectively.
Stimulus package boosts Wall Street
Stocks kept the good pace on Wall Street on Thursday, setting the market on track for its first three-day rally in six weeks. The Dow Jones Industrial Average rose 6.38 percent, which placed it at 22,552.17 points; S&P 500 gained 6.02 percent to 2,624.52 units and Nasdaq rose 5.60 percent, sitting at 7,797.54 points. The breakthroughs came after Republican and Democrat senators approved a US$2 trillion stimulus package focused on spending and tax incentives, to boost the US economy affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
BBVA will support customers
As of April 2, BBVA Mexico clients who have financial problems due to COVID-19 contingency measures will be able to access support programs directed for individuals and businesses, the bank has reported. The proposal includes up to four months of grace for capital or interests payments, to customers who request it. Support includes automobile, mortgage, payroll and personal loans, as well as credit cards, simple credit for SMEs and business credit cards.
The Institute of the National Fund for Workers Housing (INFONAVIT) announced a package of emergency measures worth almost MX$20 billion, the agency head Carlos Martínez has reported. Starting April 15, contingency measures will include unemployment insurance for workers and the extension of up to six months for mortgage payments, without charges. Martínez explained that the package was planned in coordination with the Economic Cabinet and health authorities.
CANIFARMA will prioritize heath contingency
The National Chamber of the Pharmaceutical Industry (CANIFARMA) said it will prioritize the manufacture of the necessary medications to face the COVID-19 crisis. “Under the leadership of the Ministry of Health and with the support of the Federal Commission for the Protection against Health Risks (COFEPRIS), we express our availability to prioritize manufacturing the medicines necessary to meet the demands of this emergency,” the agency he said in a statement.
Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell said a 70-year-old man from San Luis Potosí, with a history of hypertension and obesity, has become the sixth person to die from COVID-19 in Mexico. “He had contact with a person who traveled to the United States,” he said in the March 25 press briefing. López-Gattel said that 13 confirmed cases had been confirmed from people not suspected to have caught the virus abroad, implying that case due to domestic spread now account for 3 percent of the total confirmed cases. “This will be increasing,” he said. López-Gattel said starting tomorrow the entire federal government will suspend all non-essential activities.
As of Wednesday, March 25
70 new cases (from yesterday)
475 confirmed cases nationwide
1,656 under investigation
Impact on markets (19.30 hrs)
US Dollar MX$24.29 (-3.28%)
BMV IPC 35,536.7 (2.81%)
Dow Jones 21,875.35 (5. 65%)
Banks can defer loans
People will be able to freeze their bank loans for up to six months, the National Banking and Securities Commission (CNBV) has reported. Support was decided to help public fight the financial impact caused by the health crisis. “Support will consist of the partial or total deferral of payments and/or interest for up to four months, with the possibility of extending an additional two months,” said to the agency. Mortgage-backed housing loans, revolving and non-revolving loans such as automotive credit, personal loans, payroll credit, credit cards and microcredits, as well as commercial loans for companies or persons with business activity, will be included.
Mercedes trucks and buses stop
To prevent the spread of COVID-19, Mercedes-Benz Autobuses and Daimler Trucks México will suspend operations at their plants from March 30 until April 22, the company has reported. Mercedes said that purchased vehicles are guaranteed delivery in the coming weeks and that customer support will be still available for sales and client support. After-sales service will also continue on a regular basis through the network of dealers, of which there are more than 80.
More laboratories will perform COVID-19 tests
Six private laboratories were added to the list of those authorized by health authorities to perform COVID-19 tests, bringing the total number to eight. Olarte and Akle Bacteriólogo, Labiomola, Hospital Español and Médica Sur, all of them based in Mexico City, were included in the new list disclosed by the Ministry of Health. Lister Laboratories, with 40 branches in Tamaulipas, San Luis Potosí and Veracruz and Biomédicos de Yucatán complete the new selected laboratories. Medical Center ABC Observatorio and Hospital Angeles Interlomas were already authorized by the Ministry of Health and will keep testing patients.
Moody's slashes forecast
Moody's updated its growth forecast for the Mexican economy in 2020 to a 3.7 percent contraction, from the 0.9 percent reduction forecasted early in March. The ratings agency estimated that for the first quarter of the year the Mexican economy will contract 5.2 percent due to the country's high dependence to the US and the effects of the COVID-19 pandemic. “An additional source of vulnerability is the sharp reduction in tourism, which represents around 16 percent of Mexico's GDP,” the agency noted.
Tourism Business Council proposal
The National Tourism Business Council has proposed a 14 point action-plan to fight the COVID-19 pandemic to the federal government, including the extension of six months in the annual tax declaration period. The council presented the proposal to President López Obrador to avoid bankruptcy of companies already affected by the health crisis. The action plan is divided in two stages, one applicable during the pandemic and the other after the emergency is over and when the economic recovery phase starts.
Cinemex announced the temporary closure of all its theaters in Mexico until further notice, hoping that the current health crisis will also have “a happy ending” as happens in the movies. “We have decided to temporarily close all our Cinemex, Alboa and Arena complexes. To our guests who have tickets for shows that have not been carried out, we ask them to contact us through the mail: email@example.com,” the company said in a statement.
Verification centers will close
The 60 vehicle-pollution emission verification centers of Mexico City will stop working as of today and will reopen in the third week of April, the local Secretary of the Environment (Sedema) announced. The verification period for vehicles with a pink plate, finishing numbers 7 and 8, as well as red plates or 3 and 4, was extended until May and June, respectively.
IMSS trains staff
The Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) has trained 140,000 doctors and nurses on COVID-19, Education, Research and Policy Unit IMSS head Ana Carolina Sepúlveda said. More than 4,000 courses have been given including face-to-face trainings carried out in sessions with small groups, which are organized by the education directors and epidemiologists from each unit. Sepúlveda also highlighted the coordination with experts on topics to be addressed in each course.
One more death and 38 new confirmed cases were reported yesterday by Mexico’s Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gatell. After declaring the start of Phase 2 of the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico early in the morning, López-Gatell said that after today’s results the fatality rate sits at 1.2 percent. The health official noted that the closure of borders and airports have no effect in preventing a virus from entering a country. Though the first four deaths related to the pandemic in Mexico were male, the first female death was confirmed yesterday.
As of Monday, March 24
38 new cases (from yesterday)
405 confirmed cases nationwide
1,219 under investigation
Impact on markets (20.30 hrs)
US Dollar MX$25.11 (0.16%)
BMV IPC 34,371.53 (4.27%)
Dow Jones 20,414.4 (9.08%)
Banorte will differ payments
To support clients affected by the COVID-19 pandemic, Grupo Financiero Banorte will defer four months of payments of credit cards, as well as automotive, payroll, mortgage, SME’s and personal credits to those clients who request it. “Today, the COVID-19 pandemic represents a great challenge for everyone. Today they need us, so we are united,” Grupo Financiero Banorte CEO Marcos Ramírez Miguel said.
SRE suspends passports
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (SRE) suspended the issuance of passports in all delegations from March 27 to April 19, the agency reported in a statement. The e-mail dgdelegación@sre.gob.mx and the telephone contact center 800 801 07 73 are available for information. The chancellery stressed to applicants that paperwork payments are valid for five years.
Cinépolis shuts down
Cinépolis announced that starting Wednesday, over 4,000 theaters in across the country would be closed until further notice. Cinépolis ruled out carrying out any personnel adjustments during the health contingency and highlighted that, although it did hold awareness campaigns, social distancing and additional hygiene measures, the developing emergency has forced the operations to close.
The Tax Administration Service (SAT) will expedite balances returns of the 2019 annual tax declaration, the Taxpayer Defense Office (Prodecon) has reported. “Due to the health emergency and to support taxpayer’s economy, the SAT implemented mechanisms to return positive balances within three days”, the report states.
Segob panels on hold
The Ministry of Interior (Segob) will temporarily suspended all working panels with different sectors due to the COVID-19 contingency. So far in 2020 the agency held 87 working panels, while last year 287 were recorded. Unions, mayors and other authorities, ONGs, companies, activists and organizations of all kinds who participate in those panels with Segob will have to wait for the regular agenda to be resumed.
Tortilla prices could rocket
The tortilla price could increase between 20 and 30 percent in the coming days, the Governing Council of the Traditional Mexican Tortilla has reported. Increases in the cost of maize, speculation by some producers and traders and the rising cost of the US dollar are the main reason behind the increase.