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Despite high coronavirus caseload, Mexico City begins reopening

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Bank customers keep their distance Monday to help curb the spread of the new coronavirus, as they stand in line outside a bank in Mexico City. AP Photo / Eduardo Verdugo

Mexico City went from “red” to “orange” on the economic reopening traffic light Monday, allowing more businesses to reopen Monday, after almost three months of lockdowns.

Some subway stations reopened while the metro system plans to distribute a million plastic face shields to passengers.

On a four-color alert level, in which red is the worst and green the best, Mexico City downgraded the city’s alert to “orange” even though it has the country’s largest numbers of infections and deaths.

Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said officials estimate the gradual reopenings this week could put another 1 million to 1.5 million people on the streets of the capital.

The historic center is scheduled to reopen Tuesday, followed by restaurants and hotels Wednesday, but with half their normal capacity. Bars and nightclubs will remain closed.

Leon Armando Medina Quezada, a young man from La Marquesa, just west of Mexico City, went to shop Monday in the capital’s downtown district. He was worried the reopening may be too much, too soon.

“You can see a lot of activity. The truth is, it’s a lot of movement and that is going to get the stoplight turned back to red, because of the pandemic,” Medina Quezada said. “There are a lot of people on the subway, it’s very full.”

Sheinbaum said hospital capacity is being closely monitored in case it becomes necessary to tighten the restrictions again.

The highest concentrations of new infections are clustered in more rural neighborhoods on the city’s south side — Xochimilco, Milpa Alta, and part of Tlalpan. There are about 2,800 people hospitalized in the city with COVID-19.

The number of confirmed cases in Mexico rose by 3,805 to 220,657, while confirmed deaths rose by 473 to 27,121.

Source: The Associated Press

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