Mexican border state of Chihuahua returns to lockdown

Mexico's northern border state of Chihuahua has returned to the highest level of alert and lockdown after coronavirus cases jumped there and hospitals began to fill up

The Chihuahua state government declared the return to the “red” level of alert Friday, which closes down most non-essential services and encourages people to stay at home.

The Health Department said the state’s hospital beds were now 69% occupied, and that only about 23% of intensive care beds were open. The department said steps were being taken to expand hospital facilities.

The department also said that three other northern states — Durango, Coahuila and Nuevo Leon — were at risk of returning to maximum alert unless infections were brought under control.

Mexico's Assistant Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell said that authorities were investigating whether U.S. pharmaceutical company Gilead may have violated Mexican laws after letters were sent to doctors touting its drug remdesivir, which has not been approved in Mexico as a treatment for COVID-19.