Mexico Covid spokesperson faces backlash for going on beach vacation

Country has recently seen a rise in Covid-19 cases

James Crump
Monday 04 January 2021 18:34

 Covid pandemic very severe but 'not necessarily the big one', warns WHO

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Mexico’s undersecretary of health Hugo López-Gatell has been criticised after pictures reportedly showed him on holiday, amid a surge in coronavirus cases in the country.

Over the weekend, pictures of Mr López-Gatell on holiday in Mexico, presumed to be in Zipolite, Oaxaca, were spread on social media, which showed him at the beach with his wife, according to Explica.

At the start of the pandemic in March, Mr López-Gatell, who is one of the leaders of Mexico’s Covid-19 taskforce and its main spokesperson, urged the country’s residents to stay at home in order to reduce the risk of transmitting coronavirus.

After the photos of him and his wife were shared over the weekend, many social media users criticised Mr López-Gatell for going on holiday during the pandemic.

Twitter User @ANDROMACO64 wrote: “Lopez Gatell's irresponsibility has no name. While in Mexico hospitals are saturated and there's an emergency alert, the man in charge of the strategy to contain the pandemic engages in irresponsible tourism.”

User Mar L Flores also criticised him, adding: “Do you remember when Lopez Obrador would tell Gatell 'You're not alone, you're not alone’?

“Well, in fact, Gatell is not alone vacationing at the beach. Huatulco?”

While Mexican comedian Chumel Torres wrote: “Please, you're kidding me, Gatell, for real,” in a post that has been liked by more than 43,000 people at the time of writing.

Mr López-Gatell is scheduled to present his first nightly coronavirus press conference of 2021 on Monday, after taking a short break for the new year.

Mexico recorded new highs in daily coronavirus cases in both November and December 2020, as the country is struggling to contain the virus.

Officials have been criticised for not implementing restrictions asking tourists for proof of a negative coronavirus test or to quarantine on arrival at the border.

More than 500,000 Americans visited Mexico in November, as the country saw a huge surge in cases and deaths, after the number of positive coronavirus tests briefly fell during the summer.

Mexico recorded its highest daily total of coronavirus cases on 23 December, with at least 12,500 new positive tests, while it saw 1,052 deaths from Covid-19 on Thursday, which is just shy of its record of 1,128 fatalities in a day in June, according to Business Insider.

According to Johns Hopkins University, there are now more than 1.4 million people who have tested positive for the coronavirus in Mexico. The death toll has reached 127,123.

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