I'm still not feeling very well but I did want to update you on what we know about the situation in Cancun and Quintana Roo. Please check the links, I can only share what is in the news and trust my sources to be as accurate as possible. Don't shoot the messenger.
1. Three Confirmed Cases of AH1N1 in Quintana Roo- The governor of Quintana Roo confirmed that there are three cases of flu in the state, one in Chetumal, one in Felipe Carrillo Puerto and one in Cancun. The patients are all recovering and are out of danger.
2. Tourism is in grave danger- While the risk of infection will pass quickly, it may take up to six months for the economy of Cancun and the Riviera Maya to recover. Airline cancellations and travel alerts have tourists heading to Dominican Republic and other Caribbean destinations and leaving their dreams of a Cancun vacation behind, putting at risk the livelihood of tourism industry workers in the area. The World Health Organization insists that there is no rationale behind the travel restrictions being implemented by many countries around the world..
3. Businesses set to re-open May 7 in Mexico City- Authorities are suggesting that barring any impediments, businesses in Mexico City that have been closed will be allowed to re-open on Thursday May 7. One can assume that this order will extend to the rest of the country as well, though the only mention in the media is regarding Mexico City.
3. Return to school tentatively set May 7- Governments are working together to decide if children and teachers will return to classes on May 6. They are currently asking education workers to go into the schools for cleansing and disinfecting in the hopes that classes can resume quickly. While a decision has not yet been made, there is talk of extending the closures until Monday May 11th, though Quintana Roo schools apparently will be back on Thursday.
4. Outbreak may not be as bad as feared- The New York Times states that the H1N1 virus has taken less of a toll on Mexican citizens than originally feared. While the numbers being reported last week seemed high, on closer inspection and on receipt of definitive test results, the actual number of cases is lower than originally suspected. Mexican President Felipe Calderon stated that his government has effectively controlled the spread of the virus and is hopeful that the worst is over.
Meanwhile, on the streets of Cancun.....
While the tourists may have fled, the locals were out enjoying the beaches over the weekend, grateful for a chance to escape the house and to let the kids run free. We've heard that some hotel chains are consolidating their guests, transfering some tourists to sister hotels in order to serve them more efficiently (no, I do not have the names of the hotels, only rumours which I prefer not to post). Most businesses are still operating, though indoor, enclosed nightclubs with large capacities are closed down. Restaurants and bars that accomodate fewer than 80 people are being allowed to remain open, though running shorter hours or reduced capacity. Tours are still operating, with the exception of trips to the Mayan ruins which remain closed across the nation. Xcaret and Xelha (the beautiful eco-parks in the Riviera Maya) continue to remain open. Public transportation is still functioning, ferries to the islands of Cozumel and Isla Mujeres are still operational and marinas are open.
Regardless of today's news of confirmed cases in Quintana Roo, I ask you to please continue to watch the news before cancelling any upcoming trips to the area. Things should be back to normal in no time, at least that is what the authorities are telling us. There are controls in place to minimize the spread of disease, the airport is still taking precautions to prevent anyone with a high fever from entering or leaving Cancun and area businesses are making great efforts at keeping everything as sanitary as possible. I'm not saying "Come on down!" nor "Don't come!", I can't honestly take either side, I am simply saying wait as long as you are comfortable before changing your plans, if all goes well you'll be sipping margaritas on the beach as planned. I can't make anyone's decision for them, nor can I speculate about what is going to happen in the coming weeks, I am not an expert on infectious disease and am uncomfortable saying that "we are out of danger" OR "we're all going to die", I can only report what is in the Mexican media today which seems to suggest that things are improving, even with the cases in Quintana Roo being made public.
(Sources are from Monday May 4th at 9:30 am CST and are as accurate as I can ascertain at this moment in time. Please note that things can change fast, be sure you are reading the most up to date information)
(this is old news now folks, here's a link for the latest updates on h1n1 in Cancun)
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