MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexico’s health ministry on Tuesday warned that the country was facing an acute shortage of doctors as the country seeks to ramp up hospital care to fight the fast-spreading novel coronavirus outbreak.
Mexico on Monday registered 296 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total to 2,439 cases and 125 deaths, with health officials expecting the death toll to rise sharply.
Mexico has among the lowest number of medical personnel relative to population among countries in the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD), Mexican health officials say.
Mexican Health Minister Jorge Alcocer said the country needed to recruit more doctors rapidly.
“We require 200,000 physicians, of which 123,000 are general practitioners … and around 76,000 specialist physicians,” Alcocer said during President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador’s daily morning press conference.
Mexican officials have repeatedly warned that Mexico’s health system could be overwhelmed if people did not practice social distancing measures.
The spread of coronavirus in the Latin American nation is considered to be several weeks behind its northern neighbor, the United States, which has become the epicenter of the global pandemic.
Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell on Monday said Mexico’s situation is likely to worsen after April 30, when the “epidemic curve” would begin rising.
(Reporting by Drazen Jorgic; Editing by Steve Orlofsky)