Industry demands more tests as Mexico attempts risky restart

Bnamericas Published: Thursday, June 04, 2020
Industry demands more tests as Mexico attempts risky restart

To avoid complications of Mexico’s economic reboot, especially in the car industry, industrial chamber Canacintra asked sanitation and health regulator Cofepris to ease imports of COVID-19 tests.

“We consider the tests essential, because if you do not test personnel, you do not know if they are infected with COVID-19 or not, especially since most of the cases are asymptomatic,” Canacintra president Enoch Castellanos said during a videoconference.

“The auto parts industries, auto industry suppliers, they bought rapid tests and did them based on FDA registration,” Castellanos was quoted as saying by daily El Economista. 

“The problem is that Cofepris has a lot of restrictions on the importation of tests. It seems like the government is not interested in the fact that tests are done,” Castellanos said.

Mexico is undergoing a gradual lifting of restrictions with key sectors like car manufacturing, mining and construction given priority, amidst an alarming lack of testing capacity.

The country is even moving into a global focus for its high death rates, with 470 deaths registered in the 24 hours until Tuesday evening, trailing the US with 844

Castellanos expressed concerns about the rising number of cases, but, he said, the automotive sector is already operating at 40%, which hopefully would soon rise to 75%.

Widespread testing at plants would help that push because it could reduce absenteeism, which has reached up to 30% in Ciudad Juárez’s maquiladora industry.


On Tuesday, Jarbas Barbosa, deputy director of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO), urged the government to not rush with the economic restart, saying many new cases could be latent.

“There is no magic formula, but if transmission is still growing, that is an indication that you should not start opening economic activity immediately, because it may mean that transmission is going to accelerate even more,” Barbosa said.

"Mexico is making that effort and we hope that in the next few days it will have much more capacity,” added Barbosa in a weekly address.

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