Can be safer to be a nurse in a public hospital in Mexico than a Pemex worker when it comes to covid-19.
A report by the Ministry of Health published on Monday shows that 16 nurses have died from the deadly virus. Petróleos Mexicanos, the state oil company, reported the death of 28 workers and a contractor during the same period. Pemex has approximately 30% fewer employees than nurses in the public health system.
While it may be less dangerous to be a nurse, the deaths figures for doctors are slightly higher than for Pemex workers, with 66 as of Monday.
Eight other Pemex workers have died since Monday of the rapidly spreading coronavirus, with up to four reported in a single day. Pemex's 36 deceased workers represent almost 1% of the 4,477 deaths registered by covid-19 in Mexico.
Pemex has been criticized for not moving fast enough to prevent the virus from spreading. It began evacuating offshore platform workers in late April. In March, hundreds of people, including the President of Mexico, Andrés Manuel López Obrador, gathered at Pemex offices in Mexico City to celebrate Mexico's oil expropriation in 1938., a holiday, even as coronavirus cases increased worldwide and international health authorities urged countries to practice social distancing.
Reflection of the Government
Pemex's actions reflect those of the federal government, which was slow to impose national confinement and has chosen not to close its ports of entry or restrict visitors from countries with a large number of covid-19 cases.
"The lack of application of social distancing and the general attitude of the country require even more rigorous protocols and application by companies", says John Padilla, managing director of IPD Latin America. "That makes it a particularly bigger problem for Pemex, which is connected to the government in the way that we are witnessing today."
Pemex operates 24 hospitals in the country to treat its workers and their families, but none of the deceased Pemex workers were doctors or medical personnel, according to a Pemex representative who asked not to be identified, citing company policy.
"Pemex continues to implement a comprehensive prevention model to minimize the spread of covid-19 among our workers, retirees and their families"Pemex said in a statement Thursday afternoon. "Healthy distance measures continue to be intensified, work at home for administrative activities and vulnerable personnel, sanitary filters, cleaning and sanitation in work centers and distancing of operational personnel."
The virus could not have come at a worse time for Pemex. The state drilling company has been hit by the global collapse in oil prices and It faces large excess fuel due to falling demand. He recorded a record loss of $ 23 billion in the first quarter and his debt is the highest of any major oil company, at more than $ 100 billion.
López Obrador has faced criticism from credit rating agencies for suspending oil auctions started by his predecessor, which allowed Pemex to share the burden of developing Mexico's oil fields with its partners. Moody’s Investors Service downgraded its bonds to junk level last month, after several downgrades by Fitch Ratings and S&P Global Ratings.
"As Pemex now has numerous cases, we will have to wait to see if this begins to have an impact on production and operations"says Padilla from IPD.
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