Anchor Lisa Mullins speaks with Jorge Milke a businessman who lives just outside Mexico City about how life for him and his family has been altered over the last few days since the outbreak of the swine flu.
This text below is a phonetic transcript of a radio story broadcast by PRI's THE WORLD. It has been created on deadline by a contractor for PRI. The transcript is included here to facilitate internet searches for audio content. Please report any transcribing errors to firstname.lastname@example.org. This transcript may not be in its final form, and it may be updated. Please be aware that the authoritative record of material distributed by PRI's THE WORLD is the program audio.
LISA MULLINS: In Mexico itself, there is a sense that the country is under siege. That's especially true in Mexico City, which is home to some 20 million people. Many facets of public life have been shut down in the Mexican capita: schools are closed, restaurants are shuttered. The city's Mayor says he will lift some of those restrictions if the swine flu outbreak slows down or stabilizes. But for now, life in Mexico City and in the surrounding region is almost at a standstill. Jorge Milke is a business consultant. He lives with his wife and his two young daughters in a Mexico City suburb.
JORGE MILKE: I am working from home. My wife and girls, they cannot go to their routine places like going to swimming or like going to dancing classes or anything. That's closed for the moment. So we're not really going out of home unless we have an urgent or necessary thing to do. However, we can go to open places like parks or the streets.
MULLINS: Now, I understand that you did venture out the other day to try to get some face masks? Or what was it?
MILKE: Yes. Yes. A couple days ago I went out to buy some face masks. You know, all the people were wearing them and they were indicated to reduce the risk. So I went out to a few pharmacies here, six pharmacies or so, and I didn't find any. And the Army was giving out face masks, but they were in public places like subways station or more at-risk places â€“ so I just gave up.
MULLINS: How long do you think you and your family going to have to hunker down?
MILKE: I think probably until the end of this week â€“ but that's my thought. But schools have been closed until the 6th of May. So hopefully it's going to be til the end of the week, and if not, in 2 weeks at most.
MULLINS: I wonder since you're a business consultant, if you're concerned that Mexico is being isolated economically, given the fact that there are many countries right now that are saying, â€œUnless you have to travel to Mexico or the US, in fact, then don't.â€ Does that concern you?
MILKE: Yes, a little bit for the tourism. Mexican tourism is a very big industry in the country, and many European travel agencies and other traveler agencies, they're cutting their traveling to Mexico right now. So I would be worried about all that industry in Mexico â€“ not only the international impact but the domestic impact. You know, with all the closing of the restaurants and the commercial centers and all the public places in Mexico City, then even if you come, you won't have anything to do. So the impact from the economy on those places, I think that's going to be very significant.
MULLINS: Thank you very much for speaking with us, Jorge Milke. We appreciate it, and we wish you and your family the best.
MILKE: Thank you so much.
MULLINS: Jorge Milke spoke to us from his home in a suburb of Mexico City.