Mexican politician causes uproar after suggesting poor people can't contract coronavirus

WION Web Team New Delhi, India Mar 29, 2020, 11.18 AM(IST) Edited By: Bharat Sharma

A cashier serves customer behind a makeshift plastic curtain as a preventive measure against the spread of the new coronavirus, COVID-19 Photograph:( AFP )

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Luis Miguel Barbosa told reporters that “the majority [of infected people] are wealthy”

A Mexican leader has just made a bizarre statement, that poor people “are immune” to the coronavirus pandemic.

The governor of the Mexican state of Puebla made the claim while addressing reporters last week.

Luis Miguel Barbosa told reporters that “the majority [of infected people] are wealthy”.

He added, "If you're rich you're at risk, but if you're poor, no, well us poor, we are immune".

Also read: Is the COVID-19 pandemic threatening ongoing vaccination programmes?

No scientific evidence links the virus to one’s economic standing. His comments caused an uproar on social media, with people calling it misinformation. 

Barbosa reached the appalling conclusion by suggesting that most cases of coronavirus in his country are imported, and claimed that only people rich enough to leave the country had brought the virus into Mexico with them.

However, statistics do seem to be in his favour. Mexico, so far, has over 475 confirmed cases. Out of these, 75 per cent came from outside the country.

Aerial view of the Revolucion street as bars remain closed in downtown Tijuana, Baja California state, Mexico, on March 27, 2020 | AFP

In his town, Puebla, 44 people had tested positive for the virus.

The President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, recently drew criticism for his dismissive attitude against the coronavirus and a delayed response, a template which has caused catastrophic consequences across Europe.

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Recently, Mexican protesters shut down parts of the US border, asking for a blanket closure.

Until last week, Obrador, along the lines of Trump and Johnson, was seen evading social distancing, an important facet of controlling the pandemic.

Also read: Trump drops idea of New York lockdown as US death count crosses 2,000

He further asked people to “live as they would”. However, as the positive cases continue to rise in the country, he has toned down and has urged people to stay at home.

As part of Mexico’s phase-2 response, schools have been shut, offices barred from functioning, and people being urged to practice social distancing.

Even though Obrador recently claimed that the outbreak would subside by mid-April, statistics and predictions suggest that the number of cases will rise tremendously.

On March 23, theatres, cinemas, gyms, bars, and zoos were forced shut by the government in Puebla.

(With inputs from Reuters, AFP)