June 13, 2020 / 9:15 AM / a month ago

Mexico City to begin gradual exit from lockdown on Monday

FILE PHOTO: People travel inside a bus while the Mexico's government ask to the citizens hold social distancing as a measure to contain the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mexico City, Mexico June 9, 2020. REUTERS/Edgard Garrido

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The mayor of Mexico City said on Friday the Mexican capital will next week lift restrictions on car traffic and public transport, and allow 340,000 factory works to get back to work, even though new cases of coronavirus are still rising.

Mexico City and the adjacent urban sprawl are home to more than 21 million people, and the region accounts for more than 40% of some 139,000 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the country. On Friday Mexico reported a record of more than 5,000 new cases.

“We think next week the city can begin a process of very orderly transition,” said Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum, noting there had been a slight drop in hospital occupancy rates and that the city’s contagion alert level was close to coming down a notch.

Curbs on vehicle traffic and public transport are due to be eased on Monday and factories will start opening on Tuesday under strict sanitary protections, the city government said.

On Thursday, small shops will have permission to reopen, while professional services and scientific workers linked to “industry” can go back as of Friday, it added.

If conditions are deemed suitable, street markets and the historic center of the city will reopen the week of June 22-28.

Reporting by Raul Cortes; Editing by Sonya Hepinstall

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