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News Article

Mexico Will Reach Phase 3 in Two or Three Weeks

By Ricardo Guzman | Sun, 04/05/2020 - 22:11

Mexico will reach Phase 3, the most intense of transmission, in two or three weeks, Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López-Gattel said. Over 253 more cases were reported in today’s special briefing, while 94 people have now been confirmed to have died. Of these, 42. 5 percent had previous health complications associated with hypertension, 38.30 percent suffered from diabetes and 35.11 percent had health issues with obesity. The COVID-19 death rate is 0.074 per 100,000 inhabitants and the risk of contracting the disease is still relatively low, López-Gattel explained.

The Deputy Minister of Health said the Mexican government sent a plane to China for medical supplies, which are necessary to adequately protect health personnel working in the contingency plan. “The plane left on Saturday and will return on Monday with a lot of equipment,” López-Gattel explained, without detailing costs and cargo.

 

As of Sunday, April 4

253         new cases (from yesterday)

2,143     confirmed cases nationwide

5,209     under investigation

94           deaths

 

Support for PEMEX and energy plan

During today’s special message to the nation, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador announced that the federal government will reduce PEMEX’s rate of the profit-sharing duty (DUC) from 65 percent last year to 58 percent, easing the NOC’s fiscal burden and providing it additional resources for MX$65 billion. The DUC will be adjusted even further in 2021 to 54 percent. The president said the Dos Bocas refinery and the rehabilitation plan for the six refineries will not be modified and that one goal is to increase production to take advantage of the lowering oil prices. An additional 400,000 barrels per day will be produced, he said. Next week the federal government will announce the Energy Infrastructure Program (postponed since last December), an investment plan worth MX$339 billion pesos and open for both public and private sectors.

 

Two million jobs in nine months

The economic recovery plan to counter the economic crisis contemplates increasing public investment destined to create jobs and granting credits to small family businesses. By doing this, two million new jobs will be created in the next nine months, President López Obrador said. To finance this plan without increasing taxes or hiking fuels prices, the federal government will use savings from the Budget Income Stabilization Fund and from resources that were allocated in trusts recently terminated.

 

A stricter republican austerity

The president listed three elements necessary for his recovery plan: (1) Greater public investment for economic and social development, (2) more employment and (3) a stricter national austerity plan, which will include lowering salaries and benefits for high officials in the federal administration. The president said development banks will play a major role in the financing for his projects and that he will do whatever he can for not increasing public debt, despite the depreciation of the peso.

 

Worst of the epidemic is yet to come

In his message at the National Palace, President López Obrador said Mexico is, after India, the country with the least number of infections and also the third nation with the fewest deaths by number of inhabitants. “Unfortunately, according to specialists, the most difficult part of the epidemic is yet to come,” he said. The president reported that there are 6,425 intensive care beds with ventilators available for COVID-19 patients and that the federal government will give an additional MX$5 billion to the army and navy as additional support in the health contingency plan.

 

Conversation with BlackRock head

President López Obrador had a conversation with BlackRock fund president Larry Fink to exchange points of view on the pandemic. “I had a video call with Larry Fink, president of the BlackRock fund, to exchange views on the coronavirus and global economic deterioration,” the president wrote on his Twitter account, without giving more details.

Ricardo Guzman Ricardo Guzman Editor