In a video uploaded to Facebook yesterday, Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador urged his citizens to continue dining out, going against the stay-at-home policies that are sweeping the globe to combat coronavirus.
Compared to many other countries, Mexico currently has a relatively low number of coronavirus cases, the virus that has currently infected nearly 400,000 worldwide.
Mexico currently has 316 cases, with two reported deaths.
In harder-hit nations, national and local leaders are calling for social distancing and implementing city-wide lockdowns. Both New York City and San Francisco have requested residents limit travel to essential trips. In Germany, gatherings have been restricted to two or fewer people. These rules are designed to stunt the spread of the highly contagious virus.
But López Obrador apparently does not want citizens to change their behaviors.
In the video, from La Teca in Oaxaca, López Obrador says now is not the time to worry.
“We are going to continue to lead a normal life, and in the [right] moment, the president will tell you all when to protect yourselves … Do not stop going out. We are still in the first phase. I will tell you all when to stop going out … If you are able to do it and have the economic capacity, continue to take your family out to eat at restaurants because this strengthens the local economy,” he said.
López Obrador’s messaging in the video reflected a current strain of U.S. conservative thinking, that overreacting was harming the economy.
“We are not helping if we are paralyzed without rhyme or reason in an exaggerated manner,” he said.
In Italy, however, which is under complete lockdown, citizens have been bemoaning how they did not listen to recommendations to restrict travel and gatherings until it was too late.
López Obrador did make note of social distancing, asking citizens to keep apart when they did dine out: “With a safe distance, we can continue to co-exist.”
He also spoke about how certain regions in Mexico had already stepped up some precautions, including shutting down some schools.
In recent days, social media sites have taken a strong stance on people advocating for going out, with Twitter announcing it would censor tweets that called for social gatherings and that did not properly represent the best strain of expert thinking on how to combat coronavirus.
While Facebook has said it would ban ads with coronavirus misinformation, it did not discuss how it would handle this kind of advocacy from political leaders.
Facebook has not yet responded to a request for comment.
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Translation by the Daily Dot.