A food drive in Progreso is aided by an online community chest established by American and Canadian residents. Photo: Courtesy

Mandatory shutdowns have left a massive economic fallout to workers with no savings. In response, a group of expats at the beach — many of whom were recently commended by city leaders — established a community chest.

Since the program is run by unpaid volunteers, 100% of money raised goes to food and supplies for local families in need. To comply with social distancing standards, financial donations are sent digitally. Visit the Ayuda Progreso website to help through the Mercado Pago and Paypal platforms. No physical donations, such as food or clothes, are accepted because it is not possible to establish a dropoff point.

The latest statistics

Yucatan’s official coronavirus total on Thursday reached 52, a number that doesn’t include a vacationing woman who was repatriated with the illness after vacationing in Peru, and another who had traveled to Canada.

Five of the the 10 patients who were hospitalized had recovered sufficiently to be sent home, said Isaac Hernández Fuentes, deputy director of public health. The five still in the hospital were reported in serious but stable condition. No COVID-19 deaths have been reported in the state so far.

Among the new cases was a police officer from Kanasín. He was admitted to the Hospital de Alta Especialidad and three co-workers, who shared a vehicle and equipment with him, were ordered to self-quarantine and so far have shown no sign of the coronavirus.

Maintaining order

Government officials struggled to ensure that citizens were complying with stay-at-home measures were Progreso sent drones along the beach to ensure residents and visitors stayed in their homes. State helicopters and patrol vehicles roamed the streets to verify that non-essential businesses remained closed.

“We will continue with this monitoring in every public place to remind you again and again that we are NOT on vacation,” said Progreso mayor Julián Zacarías Curi. Earlier, the mayor closed marinas after complaining that both visitors and the Navy seemed not to understand the magnitude of the pandemic.

In Merida’s Centro, most businesses complied with the first-day of an expanded shutdown, with an estimated 70,000 workers staying home. That doesn’t include the thousands of under-the-table street vendors and other workers in “informal” trade.

Only food stores, banks and some other businesses necessary to day-to-day life remained open. Restaurants are restricted to home-delivery sales.

The San Benito and Lucas de Gálvez markets remain open, and merchants there issued a plea for shoppers to support them over pricier supermarket chains.

“Come and help us keep buying fresh products from the fields to the table,” said the Union of Locals of the San Benito Market on their Facebook account.

The state government set up a website to distribute information and an 800-YUCATAN (800-982-2826) hotline to report possible cases.

In addition, a WhatsApp chat line was activated Wednesday at 999-200-8489 in Spanish and 999-140-6622 in the Mayan language, which offers automated information with the help of a bot.

Throughout Mexico

Nationally, confirmed cases of COVID-19 totaled 1,378, with 37 deaths, as of Wednesday. Cases appear concentrated mainly in the State of Mexico and Mexico City.

The majority of victims are between 30 and 44 years old, and 58% of them are men.

Of the total confirmed cases nationwide, 82% are outpatient cases; 11% percent are stable but in the hospital; 6% six percent are in serious condition; and 1% are on life support.

Most of the deaths occur in older males.

Risk factors include hypertension, diabetes and obesity. Of the total number of patients, 46 percent recovered, the majority being treated on an outpatient basis.

The World Health Organization reports that Europe accounts for 55% of new cases, followed by the Americas with 35.4% of confirmed cases in the last 24 hours, with the United States leading in cases.

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