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Americas

Notebook: after the shutdown, what next?

Video by Gallagher FENWICK

Text by Battiste FENWICK , FRANCE 24's special correspondent in Mexico

Latest update : 2009-05-06

Three days into the five-day partial shutdown of Mexico City, an eerie silence reigns along Durango Avenue. FRANCE 24's correspondent in the city, Battiste Fenwick, asked the rare passers-by how they saw the future after the flu outbreak.

President Felipe Calderon has asked the citizens of Mexico City to stay at home until May 6 in order to stop the virus from spreading. But what exactly is going to happen on Wednesday, when the 5-day shutdown comes to an end? Are the city’s inhabitants going to resume their normal life, as though nothing had happened? The few people wandering down Durango Avenue have their own thoughts about this.

Alejandra works as a cleaning lady at the Durango Hospital, where three people diagnosed with influenza A (H1N1) are being treated. Alejandra has no doubt as to what will happen to her city once this long week-end is over: "On May 6, everything will go back to normal!"



But husband and wife Juan and Elsa think otherwise. "People will keep on being scared," explains Juan. "They will continue to avoid public places and they will continue avoiding handshakes. Also, there are still a lot of places and things that need to be disinfected." For Elsa, one thing will remain stuck in their minds: "we won't forget the face masks so easily. They traumatized us."



Marallusy and Victor have been friends for fifteen years. They both seem relaxed. Victor is convinced that the past week will soon be little more than a bad memory: "The virus is going to go away. Everything will be like before, as though nothing ever happened."



Elisabeth, on the other hand, thinks things will change – but for the better: "What will happen on May 6 depends on what the doctors discover. I'm optimistic. In any case, this virus forced people to change their attitude. Now they are cleaner. Hygiene has improved considerably. I think this will last and it's for the best." While Elisabeth talks, her father remains silent. Perhaps, he is not so optimistic.



Eileen and Roberto have known each other for four years. An economist at HSBC, Eileen is more concerned about the flu’s impact on the economy: "The economic factor is more important than the sanitary factor. The city has been paralysed during this crisis. The economy will suffer from this. There is going to be inflation and unemployment is going to rise."


Read Battiste Fenwick's previous notebook entry.


Date created : 2009-05-04

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