Merida’s Siglo XXI convention center in 2020, after a big renovation.

The Siglo XXI and the Yucatan International convention centers could become makeshift hospitals if the number of COVID-19 patients here explodes, said Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal.

Merida would join cities around the world in erecting temporary hospitals inside underused, oversized facilities if hospitals exceed capacity.

“We are applying the measures with which other countries are facing this contingency, to avoid a major crisis such as that experienced in the United States, Italy and Spain,” he told national media.

The state government made an advance purchase of 100 respirators, in addition to the 150 that are currently in Yucatan, he said. At least 10 COVID-19 patients are in hospitals, in isolation, according to government reports.

He indicated that they are working hand in hand with the staff of the Mexican Institute of Social Security (IMSS) and with the Institute of Security and Social Services of State Workers (Issste), who are treating the cases of people who have tested positive for the coronavirus.

Vila Dosal said that although the Federal Health Secretariat is providing them with tests to detect this virus, the state has acquired an additional consignment with suppliers certified by federal authorities.

He recalled that Yucatan was one of the states that was ahead of the game, suspending classes on school campuses March 17, and biting a big bullet by suspending the highly anticipated Tourist Tianguis.

The economic impact of the crisis is mitigated by the Support Plan and Economic Incentives aimed at various sectors of society, he said.

“We will be providing food supports to more than 175,000 families, and we will provide 2,500 monthly unemployment insurance to people who lost their jobs due to this contingency,” said Vila Dosal.

An additional 100 million pesos was allocated to support the restaurant and tourism sector, as well as toward support package for farmers and commercial fishermen.

“This plan also includes a program of fiscal incentives and payroll and lodging taxes to support companies that have had large economic losses as a result of this health crisis,” he concluded.