Cemetery workers wearing protective suits carry the coffin of a coronavirus victim to the municipal cemetery, amid the spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Tijuana, Mexico, April 22, 2020. REUTERS / Jorge Duenes
MEXICO (Reuters) – Mexico announced Wednesday that it now has more than 10,000 cases of coronavirus, the fifth highest figure in Latin America, as containment measures and crude prices have rocketed economic havoc on the oil producing country.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has often expressed optimism that Mexicans would overcome the epidemic, saying that tight-knit families offer the best protection, even if he backed down from more aggressive stimulus packages for help businesses and individuals.
Mexico’s economy, the second largest in Latin America and already sick before the epidemic, is expected to contract by 10% this year.
As early as March 22, Lopez Obrador was still encouraging Mexicans to hang out with their families at restaurants, while allies, including the mayor of Mexico City, began ordering the closure of cinemas and gymnasiums and asking residents to stay at home.
Earlier this week, Mexico entered the so-called "phase 3" of the spread of the most serious new coronavirus, as senior health officials warned that the transmission of the virus was escalating. .
Mexico has so far recorded 970 coronavirus deaths and 10,544 confirmed infections.
The first confirmed infection was reported on February 28 and it took 32 days to reach 1,000. Just two weeks later, it affected 5,000 cases, according to a Reuters count. It only took nine days to double to reach 10,000 cases.
In the region, only Brazil, Peru, Chile and Ecuador have more confirmed cases.
Frank Jack Daniel's report; Editing by Lisa Shumaker and Kim Coghill