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Amnesty International blog: COVID-19 in Mexico

April 18, 2020

Mexico is a few weeks behind Europe and Asia, but we’ve seen the number of COVID-19 cases shoot up quickly in recent days.

My biggest concerns are whether Mexico’s public health service is equipped to cope with the impact of the pandemic, and what will happen to the millions of people in the informal economy, who account for over half the national workforce. Many live day-to-day and simply can’t afford to stay home and stop working. I’m also worried about those who have fled terrible violence to seek asylum in the United States but are being forced to wait in dangerous and unsanitary conditions in Mexican border towns until their cases are heard.

The Mexican government must take swift and comprehensive action to protect everyone in the country from the effects of COVID-19, including guaranteeing people’s economic, social and cultural rights.This will be crucial during and after the pandemic, as the nation continues to grapple with the economic consequences.

I’m from England but having spent 10 years in Mexico it’s become a second home for me. It’s a wonderful country and I feel lucky to live here. Obviously it’s not ideal being so far from your family at times like these but social media makes it much easier to stay in touch.

I’m part of the privileged minority in Mexico that can work from home without it disrupting my life or income. I’ve been doing social distancing for over a month now, but my partner, pet cat and tortoise provide great company.

At Amnesty’s Americas office we’ve been monitoring how governments across the region are reacting to the pandemic and whether their responses are in line with their international human rights obligations. This has kept me very busy, so the cabin fever hasn’t really set in yet.

In my free time I’ve been reading Fernanda Melchor’s excellent This is Not Miami, watching Tiger King on Netflix and discovering Parasite director Bong Joon-ho’s back catalogue.

Looking out from my balcony it’s surreal to see the streets largely deserted in a city of 20 million people that’s normally so noisy and chaotic.

As we move forward, I take hope from the generosity and solidarity I’ve witnessed from the Mexican people in adverse circumstances, most notably when a devastating earthquake struck in 2017.

I’m confident we’ll overcome this and continue to support one another through the difficult times that lie ahead.

This post is part of a blog by Amnesty International staff and members from around the world. Click here to read the full piece.

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