"We prefer to close the town against covid"

In the town there is also a curfew and by municipal provision from 9 at night until 6 in the morning, nobody leaves their house

  • 28/04/2020
  • 14:13 hrs
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We prefer to close the town against covid

The municipality of Villa de Talea de Castro, in Oaxaca, has been closed for two weeks. Checkpoints installed at the entrance preventing the entry even of family and friends who come from other parts of the country or from abroad. The social distancing objective is avoiding covid - 19 contagions among each other.


Who described La Silla Rota the situation is Edén Martínez Santibáñez, treasurer of the municipality.

In the town, there is also a curfew disposed by the municipality from 9 p.m until 6 a.m. Nobody leaves their home anymore. Trucks no longer run or stop at Villa Talea de Castro, located in the mountains, four hours from the capital of Oaxaca. These are some of the measures decided to avoid infections because if a case is registered, we wouldn't be able to attend it, Hernández Santibáñez acknowledged. "Here the municipal authority, together with other internal authorities of the town such as the Commissariat of Communal Assets and the Mayor's Office, met and raised scenarios in which it was obvious that we were not going to do well if a case arose. The Health Center cannot respond technically to an infected person, with what is required, and the supplies needed because the health clinic is limited. If a case comes, we can not save it here; we can not count on it. "We have adults with degenerative diseases. It's better to take these measures that many people think are exaggerated, but we do not want to be in a scenario of being completely isolated. It was the decision that if we cannot offer an answer for one case, we do not want to think about several cases," he explained.

Up until April 17, the municipality lacked cases of covid-19, according to a catalog of districts without cases of contagion. A document prepared by the federal government.

The municipal authorities also ordered that those who came from other places isolate themselves for two weeks in their homes, as a preventive quarantine measure. After that time, when they found that they did not have symptoms of the Coronavirus, they are now part of the people in charge of the checkpoints, along with municipal police, the official added.

Hernández says that relatives of those who live in the town have arrived, and they do so with a medical certificate stating that they do not have covid, they are seeking to enter. But those in charge of the checkpoint explain to them that they cannot go forward and ask them to turn around.

Only people and vulnerable people can get out of the town, with diseases such as diabetes.

The medical infrastructure in the area is a two-core health clinic.

"Fortunately, we have two medical interns, two doctors, two basic nurses, and one from the social service. We had a dentist, but the university to which she belongs asked her to withdraw to avoid infections."


The town of 2,500 inhabitants has three vehicular entrances, and each one has its checkpoint, installed 24 hours a day. But still, some people want to go in through the shortcuts, even though there is a no entry notice allowed to those who come from other states or abroad is reflected in a document, of which La Silla Rota has a copy. There was a peripheral for everyone to find out. "The municipal authority in coordination with health personnel makes a careful recommendation to all people who have recently returned to the community from the different states of the republic and abroad so that they remain at home and avoid going out on the streets. The police will be making tours, and people who ignore it will be sanctioned," says Martínez Santibáñez in a video. Those who we find sneaking into the sidewalks, something that not everyone can do because they have to walk long stretches, have been quarantined to their homes, and the sanction will be issued as soon as the two weeks have passed. The punishment could be economic or work said the official.


Isolation is not complete. Some men go shopping for groceries. They go to other communities that are also closed. To enter, they carry passes where they specify what they are going to do. The safe-conducts are reviewed both upon departure and upon return.

"Traders come to bring merchandise and not leave us empty-handed; they are essential products. It was requested that cars that sell Bimbo, Marinela, products that are not necessities, or soft drinks not enter," explained the treasurer.

Some authorities also go out to meetings with their state counterparts.

Within the municipality, the businesses that remain open are obliged to keep their clients at a safe distance and to have alcohol gel from the entrance.

Economic activity has slowed down. Those who worked outside as bricklayers or in other trades have had to stay in. Those who are peasants and have crops of corn, coffee, or sugar cane continue in their work, and even when they return late, after 9 pm, they are not reproof because it is part of their work, vital for the people.

Some people have started bartering to get something they lack. This is the case of a lady who was going to have a party, but she had symptoms, so she had to suspend it. Then the hens that she had fed to slaughter and were ready, she exchanged them for panela and corn, Hernández said.

This practice will be carried out more frequently, he predicted.

Although Villa Talea de Castro belongs to the select list of 979 municipalities that do not have covid infections, Safe Distance day could be lifted on May 17.

The natives of the municipality who were working in construction stopped work, and there are no more jobs. Some of the countrymen from that municipality who went to seek the American dream to the United States suspended activities and, therefore, no longer send remittances to their relatives.

The municipal authorities have gone to bring beans, eggs, and sugar to the capital of Oaxaca to put it at the purchase price and prevent people from going to businesses that have raised prices by up to 30 or 40 percent.


Hernández Santibáñez described the educational structure in the municipality. There are two kindergartens, a primary, secondary, and a Center for Scientific and Technological Studies (Cecyte).

Since classes were suspended on March 20 by order of the Ministry of Public Education (SEP), the teachers withdrew to their places of origin.

Although the educational authorities have presumed that the children and youth of the country can take virtual classes way, in Villa Talea de Castro, it is complicated because of the lack of computers and the difficulty of not having internet.

"Until now, the young people that I have talked to in primary, secondary, and high school, do not have virtual classes. Few people with the ability to pay for the internet and those who have computers do not think it exceeds 30 percent of high school enrollment, "he concluded.


Villa de Talea Castro is not the only municipality or community in the region that has taken measures aiming to prevent the arrival of the coronavirus.

The community of San José Chinantequilla, from the municipality of Totontepec Villa de Morelos, requested a signed document by the Vigilance Council and the Commissariat of Communal Goods. Drivers of public vehicles not to board passengers from any region of the state of Oaxaca. Neither from other states of the republic or other countries, destined for the community of San José Chinantequilla, as a preventive measure against covid-19. "This measure, taken by consensus from the citizens, given that exaggerated visits have been noted by people who have never come or collaborated with the community. "Without further ado, we apologize in advance for instructing your work. However, in the face of contingency, we look forward to your understanding and collaboration".


(Luis Ramos)