Health Alert – Mexico COVID-19 Update

Health Alert – U.S. Embassy Mexico City, Mexico (January 22, 2021) 

Location:  Mexico 

Event:  Mexico COVID-19 Update (January 22, 2021) 

The number of COVID-19 cases continues to increase throughout Mexico.  As of January 18, Guanajuato, Jalisco, Mexico City, México state, Nuevo León, Puebla, and Querétaro report the highest number of active cases.  States reporting the highest rates of hospital occupancy are Mexico City, Mexico State, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Nuevo León, Puebla, and Nayarit.  Mexican health authorities reiterated calls for people to stay home as much as possible and leave only for work and essential activities, following social distance measures, frequent hand hygiene, and mask-wearing.  Schools remained closed in nearly all states.

Effective January 26, all airline passengers to the United States ages two years and older must provide a negative COVID-19 viral test taken within three calendar days of travel.  Alternatively, travelers to the United States may provide documentation from a licensed health care provider documenting recovery from COVID-19 in the 90 days preceding travel.  Check the CDC website for additional information and Frequently Asked Questions.  This requirement does not currently apply to travelers entering the United States by land or sea or to children under two years of age.  It applies to U.S. citizens, as well as foreign nationals, regardless of vaccination status.

The Mexican government has approved COVID-19 vaccines for emergency use.  We encourage you to consult with your local health care professional about how to receive the vaccine.  We encourage U.S. citizens resident in Mexico to follow host country developments and guidelinesin particular the Government of Mexico’s national vaccination plan against COVID-19 (Spanish only). 

The national stoplight system allows for a gradual phase-in of additional economic activities in states and municipalities.  The four metrics to determine the four colors that indicate risk level from maximum to minimum (red, orange, yellow, and green) are the trend in numbers of new cases, hospital occupancy trends, current hospital occupancy rates, and the percentage of positive cases.

Ten states are designated “red” under the federal stoplight system between January 18 and January 31 (Coahuila, Guanajuato, Hidalgo, Jalisco, Mexico City, México state, Morelos, Nuevo León, Querétaro, and Tlaxcala).  Under red, only essential activities are allowed.  Essential activities include: the provision of medical services and supplies, grocery delivery services, operation of grocery stores, restaurant delivery and carryout services, assurance of public safety, maintenance of fundamental economic functions and government social programs, work in critical infrastructure, construction, and manufacturing of transportation equipment.  Hotels are limited to 25 percent occupancy for guests working on critical activities.  

Twenty states are designated “orange” under the federal system between January 18 and January 31 (Aguascalientes, Baja California, Baja California Sur, Chihuahua, Colima, Durango, Guerrero,, Michoacán, Nayarit, Oaxaca, Puebla, Quintana Roo, San Luis Potosí, Sinaloa, Sonora, Tamaulipas, Tabasco, Yucatán, Veracruz, and Zacatecas).  Under orange, hotels, restaurants, barbershops, open-air parks, and gyms are limited to 50 percent capacity.  Markets and supermarkets will operate at 75 percent capacity.  Additionally, shopping malls, churches, cinemas, theaters, museums, and cultural events will be limited to 25-percent capacity.

Two states are designated “yellow” under the federal stoplight system between January 18 and January 31 (Chiapas and Chihuahua).  Under yellow, all work activities are permitted.  Public space may open on a regular basis, while enclosed public spaces can open with reduced capacity.  All activities should be carried out with basic prevention measures.  People at higher risk of developing COVID-19 symptoms should continue to take extra precautions.

One state is designated “green” under the federal stoplight system between January 18 and January 31 (Campeche).  Under green, all economic and social activities, including school, are permitted while taking appropriate precautions.

Please see information on additional state and local restrictions and links to state COVID-19 websites in the “Local Resources” section on our website.  This information is not comprehensive and is subject to change without notice.  Please confirm directly with the local government and other trusted sources for more information on closures and restrictions in different Mexican states and municipalities.

The United States and Mexico entered a joint initiative March 21, 2020, restricting non-essential travel along the U.S.-Mexico land border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus; this restriction has been extended until February 21, 2021.  Non-essential travel includes tourism and recreational travel.  These restrictions apply to travel in both directions across the border.  Mexican border and local authorities are conducting enforcement actions to discourage non-essential travel in some areas.  Travelers entering Mexico by land from the United States may be denied admission if the purpose of their visit is considered non-essential.  We recommend that travelers carry evidence of the essential nature of their visit and evidence of their resident status in Mexico, if applicable.  Travelers entering Mexico via land may be subject to temperature checks and additional health screening.  Travelers may experience significant delays and face the possibility of being returned to the United States or asked to quarantine in Mexico.  At some U.S. ports of entry, operating hours have changed; please review CBP’s Port of Entry wait times web page for additional information.  Please see the DHS website or embassy fact sheet for more information.

Passengers and aircrew members arriving at and departing from Mexican airports may be subject to health screenings, including temperature checks.  Those exhibiting symptoms may be subject to additional health screenings and/or asked to quarantine voluntarily.

The Department of State issued a Level 3 Health Advisory for Mexico on September 8, 2020, advising U.S. citizens to reconsider travel to Mexico due to COVID-19, and to exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping.  Some areas have increased risk – read the entire Travel Advisory.  The U.S. government has limited ability to provide emergency services to U.S. citizens in many areas of Mexico, as travel by U.S. government employees to certain areas is prohibited or significantly restricted.  The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a Level 4 Travel Health Notice for Mexico due to COVID-19 on December 2, 2020.

Actions to Take:

  • Visit the Department of Homeland Security’s website on the latest travel restrictions to the United States.  Check Port of Entry wait times at the U.S. border and visit Customs and Border Protection’s latest updates.
  • Learn about the latest status of consular operations at the Embassy, Consulates, and Consular Agencies.
  • Call the Mexican Ministry of Health’s COVID-19 information hotline at 800 0044 800 for local information while in Mexico.  English-speaking operators are often, but not always, available.  Visit the local government COVID-19 website for updated information.
  • Refer to the Ministry of Health’s COVID-19MX app that provides Spanish-language information about COVID-19 and local health care resources.  It includes contact information for health care providers, an interactive diagnostic tool that analyzes reported symptoms and advises whether or not to seek medical care, the location of the nearest health care facility, the latest news related to COVID-19, and advice about how to prevent the spread of the disease.  The app is available via the Mexican iOS and Android stores.
  • If you or someone you know is facing or has been a victim of domestic or sexual violence while in Mexico, please call 911 for assistance or reach out to a local organization that provides assistance to victims of domestic and sexual violence.  U.S. citizens can contact the U.S. Embassy or Consulate nearest you or the Office of Overseas Citizens Services at 1-888-407-4747 for help.  We have staff on duty around the clock to assist U.S. citizens with emergencies.  Additional resources for victims of crime are available on travel.state.gov.

Assistance: 

  • For Emergency Assistance for U.S. citizens in Mexico, call (55) 8526 2561 from Mexico or 1-844-528-6611 from the United States.
  • The U.S. Embassy in Mexico City is located at:
    Paseo de la Reforma 305, Colonia Cuauhtémoc, 06500, Ciudad de México
    Phone:  +52-55-5080-2000
    Fax:  +52-55-5080-2005
    E-Mail:  ACSMexicoCity@state.gov
  • State Department – Consular Affairs:  888-407-4747 or 202-501-4444
  • Enroll in the Smart Traveler Enrollment Program (STEP) to receive Alerts and make it easier to locate you in an emergency.