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News Article

Plan B For Lithium/Refugees Applications Break Record

By Paloma Duran | Tue, 12/21/2021 - 10:49

Vaccine Patria to start phase II trials. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said that yesterday Director of CONACYT María Elena Álvarez presented the progress made with the Mexican COVID-19 vaccine called Patria and said that its development has been positive. In addition, López Obrador called on Mexicans to participate as volunteers in the phase II trials of the vaccine. “People need to know that we need their collaboration. Even people who have not been vaccinated can help us. We are moving forward and getting closer. We must be patient."

CONACYT recently announced that there would be a call for people who want to participate in the trials of the Patria vaccine. The trials will determine if the vaccine can be used as a booster for people who already have two doses. According to authorities, phase II is expected to last less than a year, while the last phase is expected to be completed in 2023. Mexican authorities have been criticized for delays with the vaccine. The authorities had promised the vaccine would be ready in 2021 but it will now take another two years.

COVID-19 cases in Mexico. Deputy Minister of Health Hugo López- Gatell reported that COVID-19 cases in Mexico have followed a downward trend in recent months and although the omicron variant has reached the country, most of the cases are concentrated in four states. “The 23 people who tested positive for the omicron variant have had mild symptoms and have not been hospitalized. However, we must continue vaccinating since 70 percent of those infected were not vaccinated. Right now, the COVID epidemic in Mexico and many other countries is predominantly among unvaccinated people. Most of those who are in hospital with serious symptoms have not been vaccinated.”

On Sunday, the Health Ministry reported 23 additional deaths were recorded, bringing the death toll to 297,858. Meanwhile, there were 841 new infections, bringing the number of infections to 3,993,386. With these figures, Mexico has the fourth-most COVID-19-related deaths globally , after the US, Brazil and India. As for those infected with the omicron variant, there are 16 cases in Mexico City, six in the State of Mexico and one in Tamaulipas. Authorities are also investigating a possible case in Sinaloa.

AMLO: There is Plan B for lithium if the electricity reform is not approved. López Obrador stressed that if legislators do not approve his electricity reform, there is another plan so that the exploitation of lithium is not left in private hands. “If the legislators decide to act against this initiative, which would be contrary to the national interest, we have a Plan B for lithium. We are already preparing in case this happens. Do not be excited if the reform is not approved, because lithium will remain in Mexico."

Previously, MORENA presented an alternative plan to nationalize lithium if the reform is not approved. MORENA Deputy Lidia García Anaya is overseeing the project that seeks to nationalize lithium without prohibiting concessions to the private sector; however, most of the profits must go to the Mexican state. In November, Congress agreed to postpone the debate and vote on the reform. The new deadline is set for April 15, 2022. The reform would give CFE a guaranteed 56 percent market share and put most energy and strategic minerals like lithium in the hands of the state.

Mexico received more than 120,000 refugee applications. Minister of Foreign Affairs Marcelo Ebrard announced that the Mexican Commission for Refugee Assistance (COMAR) received 123,187 refugee applications in 2021, an increase of almost 300 percent compared to 2020 when 41,230 applications were received. “If you want to ask for refugee status in any country, you have to go through a procedure. In Mexico, the majority, around 95 percent, are positive resolutions. The authorization is given relatively quickly but due to the enormous increase, COMAR is asking us for help to speed up the processes, which have been affected.”

Mexico ranks third in the world for the highest number of refugee applications received, after the US and Germany. The main applicants are from Haiti, Honduras, Cuba, Salvador, Venezuela, Guatemala and Nicaragua, who normally migrate due to insecurity, lack of job opportunities and good quality of life.

Click HERE for full transcript in Spanish

The data used in this article was sourced from:  
Gobierno de México, Milenio
Photo by:   Gobierno de México
Paloma Duran Paloma Duran Journalist and Industry Analyst