© Reuters. Outbreak of coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in Acapulco
By Uriel Sanchez
ACAPULCO, Mexico (Reuters) – Intensive care units in the Mexican seaside resort of Acapulco are almost full as the corona virus threatens to overwhelm hospitals and local authorities are trying to dig more graves.
Known for its beaches, sunshine and cliff divers, Acapulco is quickly becoming a hotspot for the escalating COVID-19 outbreak in Mexico.
Public hospital beds equipped to care for critically ill COVID-19 patients are almost full, according to local authorities. They said Wednesday there were only seven available in the city with almost a million people.
Around 30 more beds will be fitted after the Mexican president selected the city during a press conference on Wednesday.
"There is one place, the only place, Acapulco, where we have to be very careful and immediately expand the hospital capacity," said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.
The sunken beach destination, which has been ravaged by gangland violence in recent years and has driven international tourists away, has 820 confirmed coronavirus cases and a death toll of 69, which, according to official reports, has increased significantly over the past week. Actual totals are likely to be much higher, and a model suggests that the outbreak may peak in June.
There are rows of open graves in an Acapulco cemetery.
The local government has ordered the excavation of 300 new single graves for poor victims of COVID-19, a statement said on Tuesday.
The government has advised people to practice social distancing and avoid large gatherings, but the police have been asked to break up parties and the locals continue to shop.
"What's going on with my city? Why are the markets full and people don't understand that there aren't enough hospitals?" Mayor Adela Roman said a few days ago, suppressing the tears.
According to a Red Cross medic who spoke on condition of anonymity, many COVID-19 patients had to wait up to five hours to be hospitalized.
"Some die in our ambulance," said the medic before entering the hospital.
"Acapulco's health system has collapsed."
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