By James Blears - Mexico City
The abruptness of the Mexican Government's red alert announcement produced exactly the opposite reaction it was seeking.
Millions of people dropped everything and rushed headlong to go shopping, with huge, close-proximity crowds everywhere.
The Federal Health Ministry announced more than 12,000 Covid-19 cases on Friday, which is the second highest daily total since the pandemic first hit Mexico in February.
Nearing full capacity
Mexico City Hospitals are struggling with 85 percent occupancy, and the adjoining State of Mexico has 78 percent. Capacity for hospital beds is nearing maximum.
Mexico's official infection rate numbers more than 1.3 million people, with almost 120,000 dead.
But a survey says that more than 30 million people have been infected nationwide, which is a quarter of the population.
Due to low testing rates, the true number is likely way higher. Mexico is currently the fourth worst affected country in the world concerning mortality, after the United States, Brazil and India.
The government had announced that vaccinations would begin this month for the over-eighties, January for the over-seventies and February for the over-sixties. But nothing has happened yet.
Some doctors and specialists are speculating that vaccinations won't be available until May or June.
As of Saturday, only supermarkets will be open to sell food and essentials. So, Mexico City is due to become an errie ghost town.