Mexico & Coronavirus: Is it Safe to Travel to Cancun, Elsewhere?

mexico coronavirus

Getty Mexico does not have many reported cases of coronavirus.

A lot of people have family in Mexico or were just planning a trip to Mexico. If you’re in those categories, you might be wondering whether it’s safe to travel to Mexico due to coronavirus.

It’s increasingly risky to travel to Mexico; in fact, the Cancun airport has now shut down terminals 3 and 4, which take international arrivals, and more than 700 foreigners were stranded there and needed humanitarian flights to get out, according to the Yucatan Times, writing on April 1, 2020. Mexico News Daily reported on March 30 that the Cancun airport has become a nightmare to navigate, with long lines, frightened travelers, and people unable to make it on flights.

In Texas, the Austin Public Health Department confirmed it was investigating a large cluster of positive cases in spring breakers who had traveled to Cabo San Lucas.

Mexico does have cases of coronavirus, although relatively few compared to some other countries. However, some people believe that this is because Mexico is not conducting enough tests for coronavirus (COVID-19). In addition, people come to resort towns like Cancun and Playa del Carmen from all over the world, including European countries that are now in lock down mode because of escalating cases of coronavirus. There’s also the possibility that Mexico could lock down its borders once you get there, and advocates are concerned about the conditions in migrant camps near the U.S. border. Mexico has started closing some larger events, extending school break, and restricting spectators at soccer games. As always, safety decisions are a personal choice you must make in consultation with your own doctor, but proper research is a good idea with an eye toward the risks.

However, if you’re thinking of going to a resort, again, be aware that you’ll likely come into contact with people from all over the world, including European countries already in lock down as they grapple with the virus. Be aware that you might get stuck there. One might offer this advice to ponder: Why risk it?

Mexico is drawing attention because it’s proceeding pretty much as usual. However, some people worry that could make coronavirus explode once or if it takes further root in Mexico. Furthermore, the U.S. State Department was already urging Americans to take caution in Mexico, but that was because of “crime and kidnapping.”

However, Mexico is slowly getting serious about coronavirus. It just installed sanitary filters with thermal imaging cameras in the international arrival areas in Cancun. The cameras measure body temperature since coronavirus is often accompanied by a fever.

Andalou Agency reported on March 16, 2020 that coronavirus cases are continuing to increase in Mexico. The site reported on that date that there were 53 confirmed and 176 suspected cases of coronavirus in Mexico.

By April 1, there were 1,100 confirmed cases with at least 28 deaths from coronavirus in Mexico.

As of March 16, 2020, there were four cases of coronavirus reported in Quintana Roo. Some of those infected came to Mexico from Spain, according to Milenio.com.

Here’s what you need to know:


Mexico’s Health Minister Did Say Mexico Might Consider Closing Its Border

Cancun, Mexico

There are more cases in the United States than there are in Mexico of COVID-19, and that fact prompted Mexico’s health minister to raise the possibility that Mexico could close its northern border to protect the country from exposure to coronavirus. However, many Americans simply fly into areas like Cancun, and some experts believe that Mexico needs the tourism dollars too much to actually make good on the border-closing notion.

On March 13, 2020, according to Reuters, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Mexico is worried about coronavirus spreading from the U.S.

“If it were technically necessary to consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance we would have to take into account not that Mexico would bring the virus to the United States, rather that the United States could bring it here,” he said, Reuters reported.

However, he didn’t offer additional details, and so far there hasn’t been any obvious move by Mexico to do this. On March 12, The New York Times reported that the same official said it’s far from clear that travel restrictions “can play a relevant role” in protecting the public and noted that Mexico was heading into major tourism weeks, adding, “Restricting international travel to Mexico is not planned, nor is it being considered.”

Advocates are worried about migrants clustered in border towns who don’t have access to good health care and are seeking passage to the United States, according to USA Today.

Helen Perry, of Global Response Management, told USA Today: “We are very concerned. You have a vulnerable, displaced community in poor living conditions without access to health care, where food is communal and housing is communal. It’s a recipe for explosive infection and transmission.”


Can You Get a Refund From Funjet or Apple Vacations?

Cancun, Mexico

Many Americans take charter flights to resort cities like Cancun, Cozumel, or Playa del Carmen. Funjet does have a coronavirus refund policy now, but good luck getting through in time to cancel if your trip is soon (we tried and kept getting put on hold for “another 56 minutes…” and then an hour later, were told to wait another 56 minutes, and so on, to no avail. No one responded to Funjet’s customer support email either.)

You can find Funjet’s coronvirus policy here.

You can find Apple Vacations’ coronavirus policy here.

Major resorts, such as Iberostar Selection Cancun, have updated their cancellation policies and sent travelers alerts about coronavirus. For example, Iberostar promised customers “Preventive measures for the cleaning of rooms and communal areas, following strict guidelines under the highest control. Specific procedures have been defined in case of suspected or confirmed infection. Total commitment to fulfil any regulations prioritizing your health and wellbeing.” Contact your hotel or resort to see the specific measures it’s taking to deal with coronavirus.

Iberostar wrote, “Clients with non-refundable booking can NOT cancel the reservation: they must contact the call centre in order to exceptionally modify their reservations due to COVID-19 (dates, destination or hotel).”


Events Are Still Occurring in Mexico, But Some Coronavirus Closures Are Starting

Downtown Cancun on March 14, 2020.

The New York Times reported that Mexico is now suspending some “seminars, classes, forums and other small-scale events that have a low economic impact.” Professional soccer teams will now play without spectators. School break was extended and events over 5,000 people should be postponed, Mexico has decided.

People in Mexico can be pretty blase about coronavirus. Nightclubs in Cancun are still packed with travelers from all over the world. The shuttle driver tells you that coronavirus doesn’t affect warm-weather countries (which isn’t true). There’s no screening at the airport for arrivals to Mexico – no temperature checks, and no inquiries about exposure. Large events are still occurring, even as across the border in the U.S. states and localities are creating shelter in place orders, limiting large gatherings, and closing restaurants and bars.

A nightclub in Cancun on March 14, 2020.


According to Andalou Agency, the president of Mexico received criticism when he was “seen kissing and hugging people in pueblos, or small towns, in the state of Guerrero.”

In addition, Mexico has hosted large events, such as Vive Latino, a music festival in Mexico City that was attended by about 70,000 people.

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