Yucatan Gov. Mauricio Vila Dosal announces sweeping aid programs that start April 6. Photo: Courtesy

A day after Yucatan discovered five new coronavirus cases, bringing the total to 68, the government launched several aid programs to stimulate a flatlined economy.

Entrepreneurs, small-businesses owners, artisans, laid off and self-employed workers including domestic help, agricultural and fishery workers can apply for assistance under the Apoyos Yucatan program, which begins today. Food distribution and help with utility bills is offered to thousands of households thrown into disarray by the coronavirus-related shutdowns. Each program is outlined on a new state website.

While small businesses can qualify for up to 100,000 pesos, it is not clear how the Apoyo program helps informal workers, who work on a cash basis. State benefits are transferred electronically to bank accounts.

Benefits will continue until May 31, at which time the state could extend the program depending on available funds and the severity of the crisis.

While Yucatan is addressing 68 patients with COVID-19, another 69 are waiting for test results.Two patients died Friday, Yucatan’s first fatalities, but since the crisis began 45 victims recovered and are considered not only COVID-19-free, but immune to the coronavirus, at least temporarily if not for a lifetime, scientists believe.

Nine patients are in serious but stable condition while in hospital isolation rooms and another 12 remain isolated in their homes with mild symptoms, supervised by state health department personnel.

Patients who are still battling the virus range in age from 17 to 78.

Two Yucatecan women who were infected and diagnosed in Peru and Canada, respectively, are not included in the state report. They are still hospitalized in Merida in serious but stable condition.

Mexico’s coronavirus deaths spiked Sunday, with 19 fatalities. New cases spiked again as well, adding 202 new patients for a total of 2,143 and 94 deaths since the first patient was encountered on Feb. 28. New daily cases have been in triple digits since March 27 as testing ramped up.

Related: Archive of coronavirus stories

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