LatinNews Daily - 03 February 2022

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MEXICO: López Obrador defends pandemic management

On 2 February, Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador reiterated his defence of deputy health minister, Hugo López-Gatell, who is being investigated for alleged homicide through negligence in relation to his handling of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Analysis:

López Obrador has been staunch in his defence of López-Gatell, who has also been accused of alleged negligence in relation to Mexico’s ongoing medicine shortage. The investigation into López-Gatell will heighten scrutiny on the government’s handling of the pandemic in a week where daily deaths have reached the highest numbers in four months.

  • In a press conference on 2 February, in response to a question from a journalist López Obrador said that López-Gatell and all those involved in management of the pandemic should be given “public, global recognition”.
  • A judge ordered the federal attorney general’s (FGR) office to open an investigation into López-Gatell on 20 January for alleged responsibility in the crime of murder by neglect, related to two deaths from Covid-19.
  • On 26 January, in an interview with Mexican radio network Radio Fórmula, Javier Coello Trejo, the lawyer presenting the case against López-Gatell, invited those interested in joining the lawsuit to send him an email. By 31 January, Coello said he had received over 2,500 emails from people submitting complaints.
  • Mexico is currently experiencing a fourth wave of Covid-19 infections, driven predominantly by the omicron variant. On 1 February, López-Gatell announced that Mexico had passed the peak of the fourth wave, although recognising that deaths were continuing to trend upwards.
  • Mexico recorded 829 deaths from Covid-19 on 1 February, the highest number since October 2021 and 43,099 daily infections, down from the record high 60,000 recorded on 19 January. As of 2 February, 307,493 people had died from Covid-19 in Mexico.

Looking Ahead: The FGR had been reluctant to open the investigation into López-Gatell, saying there lacked sufficient evidence, but was obliged to by federal judge Ganther Alejandro Villar Ceballos. Tomorrow (3 February), Coello will go to the FGR to present the evidence from the two original complainants in the case and ask it to be added to the investigation file.

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