May 18, 2020 / 4:47 AM / 13 days ago

Mexico prepares to resume economic activity as coronavirus cases continue to rise

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico on Sunday reported 49,219 cases of the coronavirus, 2,075 more than the previous day, as the country prepares to resume economic activities deemed essential.

Deaths from COVID-19, the respiratory illness caused by the novel coronavirus, increased by 132, to a total of 5,177.

Mexico announced last week a plan to gradually resume economic activity that has been halted by the coronavirus, starting on June 1.

On Friday, Mexico’s government said the automotive industry could exit the coronavirus lockdown before June 1 if companies had in place approved safety measures.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo López-Gatell told a news conference on Sunday that cases had started to stabilize over the past week in Mexico City and its metropolitan area, which has the highest level of infection in the country.

Authorities have said that the true number of cases could be up to nine times greater than the reported total because many of those infected likely did not go to the doctor, did not develop symptoms or were not properly diagnosed.

Mexico has seen a slightly higher death rate from the coronavirus than the global average so far because of the widespread presence of pre-existing medical conditions such as diabetes, hypertension and obesity, experts say.

Reporting by Adriana Barrera; Aadditional reporting by Julia Love; Editing by Christian Schmollinger and Peter Cooney

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