As Cases Rise, Mexico’s Caribbean Coast At Risk For Lockdown

Jessica Wong

If you’re planning a trip to Cancun or somewhere else on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you may want to pause those plans — at least for now. The entire state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula — home to Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum — is high-risk orange on the state’s […]

If you’re planning a trip to Cancun or somewhere else on Mexico’s Yucatan Peninsula, you may want to pause those plans — at least for now.

The entire state of Quintana Roo on the Yucatan Peninsula — home to Cancun, Cozumel, and Tulum — is high-risk orange on the state’s COVID-19 stoplight map due to a recent increase in cases,” Governor Carlos Joaquín said last week in a statement. If residents aren’t careful, it is “very probable” that Quintana Roo will switch to maximum-risk red, “which would mean lockdown, closures, and cancellations,” he said, Mexico News Daily reports.

Troubling Numbers

Although the state of Quintana Roo mandates that hotels and restaurants must operate at reduced capacity, Mexico has never enforced a European-style national lockdown.

The state has recorded 24,626 confirmed COVID-19 cases since the beginning of the pandemic, and 2,677 COVID-19 deaths, according to Quintana Roo data.

Mexico’s confirmed COVID-19 case count is currently at 2.37 million, with an official death toll of 219,901. What’s more, only around 226,000 of the state’s 1.8 million people have been vaccinated so far, an Associated Press story reports.

A Worsening Situation

Mexico saw a booming increase in tourists in March. Cancun International Airport, for example, reported 692,686 passengers, which was 5 percent more than in 2019 — pre-pandemic, Riviera Maya News explains.

In his statement, Governor Joaquín suggested that increased tourism around the time of Easter played a role in the continued rise of COVID-19 cases. As the Associated Press article points out, it seems tourists are attracted to Mexico’s Caribbean resorts because the area was not in a state of lockdown — and sanitary measures are mostly voluntary. Furthermore, many visitors were seen removing their masks at their hotels and on beaches.

“We knew that during Easter week there were great risks,” Joaquín said, Mexico News Daily reports. “We knew that there could be a large number of infections, and, unfortunately, that’s what happened. There is a significant number of infections, and hospital occupancy has increased.”

“We’re facing a very significant risk,” Joaquín said.

Editor’s Note: Mexico closed the Chichen Itza ruins over Easter, too. Here’s why.

Know Before You Go

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) classifies Mexico as a Level 4 country with very high levels of COVID-19. The CDC explains that this means “even fully vaccinated travelers may be at risk for getting and spreading COVID-19 variants and should avoid all travel to Mexico.” If you must travel to Mexico, the CDC recommends travelers be fully vaccinated, wear a mask, stay 6 feet from other people, and avoid crowds.

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