Mexico Shuts Down to Stem Outbreak

Calderón orders citizens to stay home for 5 days
By Jason Farago,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 30, 2009 6:32 AM CDT
Commuters, wearing protective face masks to prevent infection from swine flu, ride in the subway in Mexico City Wednesday April 29, 2009.   (AP Photo/Rodrigo Abd)
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(Newser) – The Mexican president told citizens to stay home tomorrow through May 5 for a five-day partial shutdown of the country's economy to reduce the risk of spreading swine flu, Reuters reports. In his first televised address since the outbreak, Felipe Calderón said that "there is no safer place than your own home," and ordered non-critical government offices and private businesses to shut.

The swine flu is already taking a toll on Mexico's economy, and today's announcement sent the peso falling sharply. Mexico City has come to a standstill, with schools, restaurants, and bars shuttered and public events suspended. Recently the country's central bank said that the outbreak would probably deepen the country's recession—in the first quarter of 2009, Mexico's economy shrank by as much as 8%.