Mexico’s low coronavirus cases draws skepticism — should travellers worry?

Months into a global virus outbreak-turned-pandemic, Mexico’s total count of confirmed cases of the new coronavirus to date sits at a meagre 12. But one doctor isn’t so sure that’s accurate.

Francisco Moreno Sánchez, the head of internal medicine at ABC Hospital in Mexico City, told local media Wednesday that he’s worried about the lack of diagnostic testing in the country and fears there are “many more cases” circulating “undetected.”

He said if true, the spread of the disease will have a “brutal” impact on Mexico.

“We need to copy what some other countries are doing in early detection of the disease,” Moreno said in an interview with El Heraldo Radio, adding that he believes the country is “waiting for the problem to start before taking measures.”

“My fear is that, when it grows, we’re going to be far from being able to contain it.”

Moreno also expressed concern about how the nation’s health-care system would fare under a widespread outbreak. He said as of now, there are only three medical centres in Mexico certified to test for COVID-19. But for someone to get tested, they must have recently travelled to a country deemed “high-risk” or have known contact with an infected person.

As of March 11, Mexico’s Health Ministry had conducted a total of 324 tests.

Moreno believes this strategy is limiting accurate case identification since the virus has now spread to more than 100 countries.

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