MEXICO CITY (AP) — In Mexico, beach towns have begun blocking off roads — in some cases, constructing barricades of rubble across roadways — to seal themselves off from the outside world in a bid to stop the new coronavirus from entering.
The Gulf of California beach town of Puerto Peñasco announced Friday that two of three highways leading into the town would be closed, and anyone entering would be subject to an enforced 12-day quarantine. The only people who can enter are residents of the seaside town also known as Rocky Point.
“Nobody who is not a resident of Peñasco will be allowed to enter; relatives, friends, tourists and people from outside will be prohibited from entering, in order to avoid possible contagion,” said Puerto Peñasco Mayor Kiko Munro.
Oscar Castro, the town’s health director, acknowledged that residents cannot, by law, be banned from leaving, or returning; but if they decide to return, they’ll be quarantined.
Castro said Puerto Peñasco currently has no coronavirus cases, and officials want to keep it that way. Puerto Peñasco has a strictly enforced curfew.
Many such towns lack the health care resources to deal with a big surge in cases, and they can see what has already happened in heavily touristed areas: Mexico’s highest per-capita infection rate is in the Caribbean coast state of Quintana Roo, home to resorts like Cancun.
Further south in the Pacific coast beach town of Rincon de Guayabitos, video posted on social media showed dump trucks piling huge mounds of construction rubble across a highway leading into town to prevent tourists from entering.
In the nearby beach community of Sayulita, residents posted videos of themselves at informal, vigilante-style roadblocks, turning back visitors’ cars.
That came after Nayarit Gov. Antonio Echeverria launched a harsh verbal attack on tourists from the bigger neighboring state of Jalisco, blaming them for “their irresponsible presence… some even come when they are infected.”
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