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News Article

Mexico Removes Health Screenings for Tourists

By Alfonso Núñez | Wed, 01/12/2022 - 12:12

Mexico has discarded a health screening form previously given to tourists coming into the country, which was its only sanitary screening requirement. With this move, the country returns to its pre-pandemic travel procedures despite the mass spread of COVID-19 variants.

 

Following El Salvador, Mexico is now the second nation in the world to abandon all COVID-19 safety screenings for tourists. Because the country has not closed its borders throughout the entirety of the pandemic, it has become the world’s most popular travel destination in the last two years.

 

The country had established a health questionnaire as a safety precaution called Vuela Seguro, which was required to be filled out by all international travelers entering the country. Questions included whether the traveler had been in close contact with someone who had tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two weeks and if they were experiencing any COVID-19-related symptoms such as dry coughs, a fever, headaches or body aches.

 

Completion of the form would provide travelers with a QR code which, if responses were in compliance with sanitary measures, would allow them to continue with their travels without additional health screenings. However, the effectiveness of the form relying solely on a traveler’s honesty had been questioned and ultimately caused the questionnaire to be removed altogether.

 

Deputy Minister of Health Promotion and Prevention Hugo López-Gatell had previously announced the removal of the form due to its lack of results aside from creating an inconvenience during travel. “The questionnaires for travelers upon arrival have not demonstrated a scientific utility. Some State Ministers have proposals such as this one, but it has not been demonstrated to have a use and possibly interferes with the efficiency of our transportation process,” López-Gatell said.

 

As of Jan. 1, 2022, the questionnaire was removed. The tourism industry is one of the country’s most vital, representing close to 9 percent of the nation’s GDP and being the number one employer of the country’s youth and the second largest employer for women. During the past two years, Mexico’s tourism contraction has been six times smaller than the global industry’s.

 

Tourism was one of the industries that bounced back in 2021, when it grew by 38.5 percent. However, these numbers still represent a decrease of 30 percent in international tourists compared to pre-pandemic numbers.

Photo by:   Unsplash, Lukas Souza
Alfonso Núñez Alfonso Núñez Journalist & Industry Analyst