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Dubai-based Mexican expatriate Jessica Hernandez is worried about her mother, who is one of the frontline workers in Mexico City. Image Credit: Supplied

Dubai: On May 17, Mexican health authorities confirmed 49,219 cases of COVID-19 and 5,117 deaths in the country.

But according to Alejandro Macias — Mexico’s top expert in H1N1 epidemic control, in 2009, when he was working with the Mexican Health Ministry as the national commissioner for Prevention and Control of Influenza — the exact number of persons infected with COVID-19 in Mexico will not be known due to inappropriate tests.

According to some experts, the actual number of positive cases in the country could be anywhere between 881,000 and 1.27 million.

Mexicans all over the world can only look in despair at the rising number of infected persons in the Latina American country.

'Hard on the medical staff'

Jessica Hernandez, a Mexican resident of Dubai for the last six years and an assistant manager with a hotel in the emirate, shared her concerns for her mother, a frontline health-care worker in Mexico City.

“The hospital (where her mum works) is supporting the government in taking care of high-priority surgeries, but it has been hard on the medical staff members who received their personal protective equipment only at the beginning of this month,” Hernandez told Gulf News.

She added that life has dramatically changed the habits at home as sanitisation is now a priority.

Mum is donating plastic face-covers, especially to her colleagues, because government assistance has been scarce.

- Jessica Hernandez, Mexican expatriate residing in Dubai

“Mum is donating plastic face-covers, especially to her colleagues, because government assistance has been scarce,” Jessica added.

Although most of her direct family members live close to each other, Jessica is still keen on being reunited with them.

“I am really stressed. Mum has hypertension. She was on leave-in-lieu, but there were so many patients at the hospital that she had no choice but to get back to work. It is not an option for me to go home now as we can’t travel. Being on unpaid leave makes it nearly impossible,” she rued, speaking to Gulf News.

'Crossing over'

Nadya Berumen, another Mexican who has been residing in Dubai since 2016, shared a similar story. Her mother, too, is a frontline worker in Baja California, in the northwestern part of the country. “The cases have risen way faster than expected as we are a border state with the US. People are crossing over from one side to another every day,” a worried Berumen told Gulf News.

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Mexican expatriate Nadya Berumen, a resident of Dubai since 2016, feels that the number of coronavirus positive cases in Mexico has risen way faster than expected. Image Credit: Supplied

'Health-care system has collapsed'

Berumen’s mother was forced to take the hard call to isolate herself from her husband. They have not seen each other for months now as she works in a hospital dedicated to patients afflicted with coronavirus.

“She was due to retire from service on May 1, but she could not as this is the moment when coronavirus patients need all possible help,” she said.

In Baja California, initial government action was fast and effective and the frontline health workers were well-equipped to deal with the pandemic, Berumen said. “But people still carried on with their lives as if nothing had happened. We can now see the consequences. The health-care system has collapsed, patients are sleeping on chairs! The authorities did their part. Sadly, it’s all about culture and discipline,” she explained.

People [in Mexico] still carried on with their lives as if nothing had happened. We can now see the consequences.

- Nadya Berumen, Mexican expatriate based in Dubai

Her major concern now is the economic impact of the pandemic. “Ensenada (city) is a tourist hot spot, but now everything is closed. The community will be greatly affected. We can’t do anything but wait for the pandemic to end and for normality to return,” she concluded.