FILE PHOTO: Two nurses wearing protective masks pose inside the new immediate response mobile hospital with 50 intensive care beds against the outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Pachuca, Hidalgo, Mexico, March 19, 2020. REUTERS/Henry Romero
MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s president on Friday urged medical workers aged 60 to 65 to return to their jobs and treat non-coronavirus patients, in a bid to help the health system handle an expected surge of demand from the virus.
There are some 20,000 nurses and doctors in good health who would qualify to participate, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador told his regular news conference.
They would work from April 23 to May 23 to free up younger health workers for coronavirus cases, which are expected to hit a peak by May 10 in the populous capital of Mexico City and surrounding areas.
“According to the projections, we calculate that the number of hospitalizations will increase, and there will also be an increase in intensive care,” Lopez Obrador said, adding that 20,000 extra workers would be sufficient to cover the higher demand.
Mexico has so far registered 6,297 cases of the coronavirus and 486 deaths, and authorities are urging people to stay at home to prevent mass numbers of illnesses that could overwhelm the health system.
Government workers over 60, including medical staff, had been told to stay home as a precautionary measure to protect their health, Lopez Obrador noted. Mexican health authorities have said people above that age could be especially vulnerable to developing complications from the coronavirus.
Reporting by Daina Beth Solomon; Editing by Lisa Shumaker
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