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Mexican governor says poor are immune to coronavirus

Governor of Puebla state says rich people are at risk, insinuating that poor people cannot travel and are therefore safe

Sierra Juarez   | 27.03.2020
Mexican governor says poor are immune to coronavirus A man scratch his nose at the public transport during the COVID-19 pandemic in Mexico City, Mexico, on March 25, 2020 (Manuel Velasquez - Anadolu Agency )

QUERETARO, Mexico 

A state governor in Mexico has triggered outrage in the country by claiming that “poor people” are immune from the novel coronavirus.    

Luis Miguel Barbosa, the governor of Puebla, said earlier this week at a press conference that poor people in Mexico should not worry about the global pandemic. 

“If you are rich, you have a risk. If you are poor, no. The poor are immune,” he said.  

There is nothing to support the idea that only rich people are at risk of the coronavirus. The governor said people who travel could be at more risk, and he linked the ability to travel with people who are rich. He then assumed that poor people were not in danger.  

The governor is a “morenista” or member of the same party as President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador -- the National Regeneration Movement (MORENA) party.  

The president has been criticized for his laid-back approach, and he, like Barbosa, has made claims that are questionable.   

Less than a week ago, the president said Mexicans are “very resistant” because of their culture, seeming to suggest that Mexicans will fare better than other countries with the coronavirus because of their “ancient” roots. 

In addition, he said citizens should continue to dine in at restaurants with their families to help the economy and to not “exaggerate” the situation.  

Meanwhile, countries across the world are implementing mandatory quarantines.  

In Mexico, there are currently around 475 cases of the coronavirus. Experts believe that the number is much higher because many public hospitals are refusing to test patients with symptoms.

After first appearing in Wuhan, China in December, the novel virus, officially known as COVID-19, has spread to at least 175 countries and regions, according to data compiled by U.S.-based Johns Hopkins University.

More than 531,000 cases have been reported worldwide, with the death toll exceeding 24,000 and more than 122,000 recoveries.

Despite the rising number of cases, most people who contract the virus suffer only mild symptoms before making a recovery.


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