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Mexico’s coronavirus czar faces backlash after beach trip

Hugo López-Gatell, the main face of Mexico’s coronavirus response, is going through criticism after pictures over the weekend captured him on trip amid a surge in cases within the nation. 

Local media posted photographs of López-Gatell, Mexico’s undersecretary of well being, sitting within the open-air restaurant within the laid-back beach resort of Zipolite, positioned within the nation’s southern Oaxaca state. The space has obligatory guidelines about face masks. 

In one of many pictures, he was captured sitting at an out of doors bar with a lady — each with out masks on.

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In one other photograph, taken a couple of days earlier on a flight from Mexico City to the beach resort, López-Gatell was seen speaking on a cellphone and not using a masks masking his nostril and mouth, experiences mentioned.

His actions had been deemed hypocritical as he has repeatedly urged Mexicans to remain house, whereas routinely giving updates on the pandemic’s toll within the nation. His every day updates on the dangers of the virus triggered some to match him with Dr. Anthony Fauci within the U.S.

“He’s traveling at the worst moment of the pandemic,” political author Denise Dresser tweeted of López-Gatell, in accordance with the paper. “He is far from where he should be: with health personnel, implementing the vaccination campaign, setting an example.”

Mexico’s coronavirus response chief Hugo López-Gatell factors to a vial of the COVID-19 vaccine throughout its first purposes into well being employees on the General Hospital in Mexico City, early Thursday, Dec. 24, 2020. (AP Photo/Eduardo Verdugo)

But in contrast to Fauci, López-Gatell beforehand criticized the media for “being alarmist,” after Mexico surpassed the grim milestone of 100,000 deaths from the virus final November. 

“The epidemic is terrible in itself, you don’t have to add drama to it,” mentioned López-Gatell. “Putting statistics on the front page doesn’t, in my view, help much.”

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In response to the photograph backlash, López-Gatell mentioned he wasn’t within the flawed for going to Oaxaca to see buddies and family members. He famous that the virus alert degree was decrease there. 

Meanwhile, President Andrés Manuel López Obrador — who has been criticized for occasionally not sporting a masks — downplayed López-Gatell’s actions, calling him “a good public servant.”

“It’s a good thing that there is this scrutiny, but a public servant has rights, too,” mentioned López Obrador.

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As of late Monday, Mexico has reported not less than 1,455,219 confirmed coronavirus circumstances and greater than 127,757 deaths from the virus, in accordance with knowledge from Johns Hopkins University. 

The Associated Press contributed to this report

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