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Modification of the Agreement that establishes extraordinary actions to address the health emergency generated by the SARS- CoV2 virus (COVID-19)

On April 21, 2020, the “Agreement modifying the similar one that establishes extraordinary actions to address the health emergency generated by the SARS- CoV2 virus, published on March 31, 2020” was published in the Federal Official Gazette (the “New Agreement”).

The Agreement of March 31 (the “First Agreement”) ordered the immediate suspension of non-essential activities from March 30 to April 30, 2020, in order to reduce the spread of the virus in the community. In this sense, the Agreement published on April 21, 2020, by means of an amendment to section I of Article One of the First Agreement, extends the “Jornada Nacional de Sana Distancia” from March 30 to May 30, 2020, the period in which non-essential activities will remain suspended.

Likewise, Article Three was added to the First Agreement, which states that extraordinary actions to address the health emergency generated by the COVID-19 virus will cease on May 18, 2020 in municipalities where there’s low or nonexistent transmission of the virus at such date. The Federal Health Ministry will define the criteria to evaluate the intensity of the transmission of the COVID-19 virus. In addition, such Ministry will indicate the guidelines for the reduction of mobility in municipalities with a different degree of propagation. Regardless of the intensity of transmission in each municipality, the measure to protect people within the risk groups will be maintained.

Further on, a Fourth Article was added, which establishes that the Federal Health Ministry will adapt the epidemiological surveillance system, and other information systems, as it considers necessary to achieve surveillance of the demand and availability of hospital services at the second and third levels of medical care, as well as of patients who are seriously ill due to the COVID-19 virus.

Likewise, Article Five was added, which mentions that local governments should (i) keep updated the daily report of occupation, availability and care for Severe Acute Respiratory Infection (IRAG, as per its Spanish abbreviation) and any other report that the Federal Health Ministry may indicate, (ii) implement prevention and control measures according to the general criteria issued by the Ministry, and in accordance with the magnitude of the epidemic, (iii) establish and implement mechanisms leading to the reduction of mobility of inhabitants between municipalities with different levels of spread, according to the criteria established by the Ministry of Health, to achieve this end, the Federal Public Administration agencies may assist the state, and (iv) within the scope of their competence, guarantee the implementation of these measures, and inform the Health Ministry of their follow-up, with the periodicity established by the Ministry.

Finally, the local governments, in their capacity as health authorities, and the members of the National Health System that provide health services in each state, must execute and supervise the plans for hospital conversion and expansion to guarantee health care for the population for COVID-19 disease, as well as for any other need for care, as indicated in Article Six, which was also added.

Lawyer Andrea Fernanda Olaya

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