The Miss Mexico pageant has been accused of moving ahead with its competition despite a mass outbreak of coronavirus among its contestants, with those exhibiting symptoms allegedly being told “not to complain”.
The Associated Press reported that contestants from 14 of Mexico’s 32 states at a Miss Mexico contest tested positive for Covid-19 amid the competition.
Health secretary for the northern Mexico border state of Chihuahua, Eduardo Fernández Herrera, told local media about the outbreak on Tuesday.
The health official said that the contest, held in the state capital, was shortened and brought to an abrupt end on Saturday after the positive cases were discovered.
Reports have alleged that organisers had initially pushed ahead with the competition despite the illness outbreak, allegedly telling those with symptoms “not to complain”.
“Even though many [of the contestants] were coughing, had body aches and even a temperature, they asked them not to complain,” a source from the pageant told Reforma, according to The Guardian.
The source also reportedly alleged to the Spanish newspaper that “a minimum 10 [contestants] had symptoms” on a trip to a school in Copper Canyon prior to the pageant.
Mr Herrera said that the contestants had all submitted negative tests before the pageant but authorities received an anonymous tip about a positive case.
Following the anonymous tip, health officials then reportedly visited the site of the competition to administer tests.
“The state health secretariat regrets the lack of honesty and transparency from the organising committee,” he said in a statement.
The event was reported to have been scheduled for 3 July but was rescheduled for 1 July without explanation, The Guardian reported.
In total, nearly half of the contestants in this year’s pageant and one other staff member ultimately tested positive for the virus.
The Independent has contacted Miss Mexico for comment on the claims.
Additional reporting from the Associated Press
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