Mexico begins reopening after two-month lockdown

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Mexico began gradually reopening its economy on Monday after more than two months of shutdown because of the coronavirus pandemic.

With almost 10,000 COVID-19 deaths and more than 90,000 confirmed cases, Mexico is second only to Brazil in Latin America for the number of fatalities and fourth in the region in terms of infections.

"Today we began production activities related to the , mining and the ," said President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador.

"We have to move towards the new normal because it's necessary for our , our people's wellbeing; we need to, little by little, return production, economic, social and cultural activity to normal."

Mexico shut down all but necessary economic activity on March 23, after Lopez Obrador had come under intense criticism and bucked the regional trend by resisting calls to impose a lockdown much earlier.

On a visit to Quintana Roo state, where the popular Cancun seaside resort is located, Lopez Obrador also said tourism activity would be reopened from next week.

Last month, Mexico revealed a "traffic light" plan for restarting the economy from June 1.

In red zones only "essential" activities such as construction and mining can restart, whereas in green zones activities in and even schools can reopen, albeit while respecting social distancing and personal hygiene guidelines.

The capital Mexico City will remain a red zone until at least June 15, and until hospital bed occupancy drops below the current 65 percent.

© 2020 AFP

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