TOLUCA, MEXICO - APRIL 02: A nurse takes an old wo
A nurse takes an old woman to the controlled common area within the nursing home where she lives to prevent them from getting coronavirus on April 02, 2020 in Toluca, Mexico. Health Emergency was declared by National Government and Non-essential activities have been suspended nationwide until April 30. The Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has spread to many countries across the world, claiming over 44,000 lives and infecting hundreds of thousands more. (Photo by Cristopher Rogel Blanquet/Getty Images)
  • Nurses at a hospital in Mexico said they were instructed not to wear masks when treating patients so they wouldn't incite fear, Reuters reported.
  • "In a morning clinical class, the sub-head told us not to create panic ... that we shouldn't wear face masks because we were going to create a psychosis," one nurse told Reuters.
  • As of Tuesday evening, Mexico has nearly 5,400 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.
  • For more stories, go to Business Insider's home page.

Nurses at a hospital in Mexico claim their managers are telling them not to wear masks so they won't incite fear in their patients, Reuters reported.

The IMSS General Hospital in Monclova, Mexico, is the first known coronavirus hotspot in the country, according to the Reuters report. Two doctors and a hospital administrator died from the virus, which causes a respiratory disease known as Covid-19.

Fifty-one medical staff members are infected, according to the state health department, and four are currently hospitalised.

Seven workers told Reuters they were instructed not to wear face masks by hospital floor managers, even as medical staff began to show symptoms.

One nurse, identified by her surname Hernandez-Perez, was ordered by a deputy head of nursing not to wear her mask so she wouldn't "create a psychosis" among patients. She later fell ill and tested positive for the disease.

"In a morning clinical class, the sub-head told us not to create panic ... that we shouldn't wear face masks because we were going to create a psychosis," she said.

On March 22, one nurse told Reuters that the staff was instructed to take off their N95 masks because they were "not necessary," Reuters reported.

Nurse Charly Escobedo Gonzalez, who also works at the hospital, echoed that account, telling Reuters that managers "said that protective equipment wasn't necessary."

Raul Pena Viveros, a senior IMSS official, told Reuters that the health workers' accounts should "of course" be believed, but he did not confirm if staff members were being told not to wear masks, saying there could be a miscommunication on when workers should wear masks.

"Not all of the workers have to wear the same equipment inside the hospital," he told Reuters. "And when this type of equipment is used badly ... it runs out more quickly and they put workers who are in contact with patients at risk."

Like many hospitals around the world treating an overwhelming number of coronavirus patients, the IMSS General Hospital also experienced a PPE shortage, prompting some staff to wear inappropriate industrial-style masks to protect themselves as they tend to patients, Pena Viveros told Reuters.

As of Tuesday evening, Mexico has nearly 5,400 confirmed coronavirus cases and more than 400 deaths, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

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