Mexico is moving towards a gradual reactivation of its economy on Monday despite the fact the number of new coronavirus infections continues to grow every day.
The ominous numbers are raising fears of a new wave of infections like other countries have suffered after loosening restrictions.
President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador is straddling the issue, telling the public the fight against the virus depends on continued social distancing in many places while describing how other areas will begin to return to work from Monday.
“We’re at the point where we begin to have fewer cases,” Mr Lopez Obrador said on Friday.
“But in these days we have to be more careful, not relax the discipline, don’t trust ourselves.”
The comments came on the same day the government clarified guidelines for the construction, mining and automotive industries to return to work on Monday.
There were 2,437 new coronavirus test confirmations in the country on Friday, the highest daily total yet and the second day in a row with more than 2,000 new cases. There were 2,409 on Thursday.
The numbers suggest the pandemic has not yet peaked in Mexico, while the daily number of deaths rose by 290, below the one-day peak of 353 deaths reported on Tuesday.
Mexico has suffered a total of 4,767 deaths so far.
“We are at the moment of the fastest growth in new cases,” said assistant health secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell. “This is the most difficult moment.”
Health officials have said the real number of infections is far higher. Mexico has a lower rate of testing for the virus than any of the world’s largest economies, according to the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development.
The country’s lockdown – which began in March – will remain in place, but specified industries will be allowed to resume as they have been classified “essential activities”.