Protesters on Friday chant against Mexico’s President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador as he visits a public hospital in Cuernavaca. Photo: AP / Fernando Llano

Near-record levels of coronavirus cases and deaths once again delayed Mexico’s economic reopening.

Mexico reported 5,030 new confirmed coronavirus cases and 647 more deaths in 24 hours, both numbers down just slightly from Thursday.

The daily death toll has been hovering around 700 for much of the week, while the daily case load increase has hovered near 5,000. Mexico now has 170,485 confirmed cases and 20,394 deaths, though both numbers are considered undercounts due to extremely limited testing.

The country had been hoping to authorize a broad new round of openings for businesses like hotels, restaurants and shopping malls.

But authorities in Mexico City, which has been hardest hit by the pandemic, said hospital occupancy and case numbers had not decreased to the point where reopening malls and street markets would be possible. The city has about 70% of its hospital beds occupied.

Last week, a half of Mexico’s 32 states — including Yucatan — had reached a level compatible with limited reopening, such 50% of hotel or restaurant capacity. The few states where hotels did open actually resumed operations with lower occupancy rates, at around 30%.

Source: The Associated Press