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Mexico's coronavirus death toll becomes third highest worldwide

Reuters/Mexico City
Filed on August 1, 2020
Mexico, poised, to, overtake, Britain, country, third-highest, coronavirus, Covid-19, death, toll
A man sleeps on the floor as people walk near Zocalo Square, as the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak continues, in Mexico City, Mexico July 31, 2020.

(Reuters)

This will place Mexico behind Brazil, Latin America's largest and most populous nation, and the United States.

Mexico's confirmed coronavirus deaths rose to 46,688 on Friday, health ministry data showed, placing the country's death toll from the pandemic at third highest in the world, overtaking Britain, according to a Reuters tally.

The health ministry registered 8,458 new cases, a record for a single day, as well as 688 additional deaths, bringing the total to 424,637 cases and 46,688 fatalities.

The government has said the real number of infected people is likely significantly higher than the confirmed cases.

Mexican officials say the pandemic is likely far more extensive than official figures reflect.

The rising tolls have cemented Latin America's status as one of the epicenters of the virus as cases in the region have doubled over the past month to more than 4.7 million infections.

Colombia, where lockdowns are planned through the end of August, passed the 10,000 death benchmark on Friday, tallying 10,105 fatalities. The Andean country is expected to reach 300,000 total cases over the weekend.

While the United Kingdom appears to have put the brakes on the virus, the pandemic shows few signs of slowing in Mexico, which has been trying to restart the economy since late May.

"We're opening when we're not yet ready to open," said Rosa Maria del Angel, head of Infectomics and Molecular Pathogenesis at Mexico's National Polytechnic Institute.

Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, who angered some health advocates by refusing to wear a mask in public, said on Friday Mexico plans to go ahead with Independence Day celebrations in the capital's massive Zocalo Square.

The September 16 ceremony that celebrates a historic call to revolt known as "El Grito" would be "socially distanced," Lopez Obrador told his daily morning press conference.

"Faced with adversity, with epidemics, with floods, earthquakes, bad governments, we always go out (to celebrate)," he said. "Now we're going to continue going out."

Lopez Obrador has chastised news organisations for reporting Mexico's rise up the ranks of the global death tally, saying the toll per capita is a fairer representation.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbuam said on Friday the capital would remain at "orange," the second highest alert phase for reopening economic and social activities, after last week warning of a possible surge in cases by October.

The city could still return to tougher measures, she told reporters. "Let's not get ahead of ourselves."


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