MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday blasted European countries for adopting strict lockdowns to stem the spread of coronavirus, suggesting they smacked of authoritarianism.
Germany and France were on Wednesday preparing to announce restrictions approaching the level of spring’s blanket lockdowns as COVID deaths across Europe surged.
National or local authorities have already imposed nighttime curfews in several European countries, including France, Spain, Italy and the Czech Republic.
Speaking at a regular news conference, Lopez Obrador voiced regret at the measures being taken in Europe and urged governments to show more faith in their populations.
“What it expresses is an authoritarian urge by the authorities, by the government, with all due respect, on the part of those who opt for this,” he said when asked if Mexico could adopt tougher measures to halt rising coronavirus cases.
“Curfews aren’t a sign of faith in people. It’s putting yourself above as authority and seeing citizens as children, like they don’t understand. Not even in its worst moments did Europe have these curfews and all these measures.”
Mexico has officially registered over 901,000 coronavirus cases and 89,800 deaths, though authorities admit the number of cases and the death toll are likely significantly higher.
The government has warned infections are rising in parts of Mexico and asked the public to adhere to social distancing norms and avoid large crowds as traditional celebrations near that annually attract hundreds of thousands of people.
Late last week, the northern border state of Chihuahua returned to the highest phase of coronavirus alert.
Lopez Obrador called on Mexicans to practice personal hygiene, social distancing and act responsibly. “And no to using coercive measures,” he said. “This is not resolved with that.”
(Reporting by Anthony Esposito and Raul Cortes Fernandez; Editing by Dave Graham and Tom Brown)