Alarming images from virus-hit nation surging past 30,000 deaths

Tom Flanagan
·News Reporter
·3-min read

The easing of coronavirus restrictions in Mexico has coincided with a surge in cases, with the virus-hit nation surpassing the grim milestone of 30,000 deaths over the weekend.

Its death toll of 30,639 takes Mexico above France and now only behind Italy, the UK, Brazil and the US.

The health ministry reported 6,914 new infections – its highest daily total – and a total of 252,165 confirmed cases on Saturday (local time), with cases steadily rising as capital Mexico City reopened last week after months of lockdown in a bid to rescue its dwindling economy.

On Sunday (local time), there were a further 4,683 cases and 273 deaths.

Alarming photos from Pantitlan metro station last week show commuters congregated closely together, many ignoring floor markings instructing social distancing.

Commuters crowd together at Pantitlan station last week as restrictions across Mexico eased despite rising cases and deaths.
Commuters crowd together at Pantitlan station last week as restrictions across Mexico eased despite rising cases and deaths. Source: Getty Images
Commuters ignore social distancing markers on the floor at the station.
Commuters ignore social distancing markers on the floor at the station. Source: Getty Images

While the majority are wearing masks, experts have previously warned masks are no substitute for social distancing and often lull their users into a false sense of security.

Limited businesses, shops and restaurants also reopened, however a push to return Mexico City to a sense of normality has caused crowding in some streets.

Authorities tried to manage the partial, gradual reopening by allowing businesses on one side of the streets to open one day, and those on the other side the next.

But that meant "people crowd into one side of the street one day, and the other side the next", police officer Edgar López said.

Mexico’s cases likely to be much higher, Health Minister warns

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez Gatell stressed the actual number of infected was probably significantly higher.

"We knew from the beginning that the cases we report here do not represent the total number of people with COVID-19 in Mexico," he told a regular news conference.

Dozens of pedestrians cross Eje Central Avenue in Mexico City on Wednesday.
Dozens of pedestrians cross Eje Central Avenue in Mexico City on Wednesday. Source: Getty Images
Coronavirus deaths continue to steadily rise in Mexico. Source: Worldometers
Coronavirus deaths continue to steadily rise in Mexico. Source: Worldometers

"Neither Mexico nor any other country in the world aims to make an exhaustive count."

More than two months after President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said Mexico had tamed the pandemic, the country has in recent weeks been posting some of the highest daily death tolls worldwide alongside Brazil and the United States.

"As we're in an active epidemic, the risk is that as we try to reopen social activities... we may have more infections and the transmission could be maintained or increase," Mr Lopez-Gatell told a news conference.

Mexico recorded more than 6,700 cases each day from Thursday to Saturday, its three highest daily totals.

with Reuters and AP

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