Mexico overtakes Italy to have world's fourth-most coronavirus deaths

Tourists walk along the Laguna de Chapala boardwalk in Chapala, state of Jalisco, Mexico, on July 12, 2020.
Tourists walk along the Laguna de Chapala boardwalk in Chapala, state of Jalisco, Mexico, on July 12, 2020.PHOTO: AFP

MEXICO CITY (BLOOMBERG) - Mexico surpassed Italy in the number of Covid-19 deaths, and has become the world's fourth-deadliest nation.

Deaths rose by 276 to 35,006, according to data released by the Health Ministry on Sunday (July 12).

Cases rose by 4,482 to 299,750.

Over the last two weeks, total deaths in Mexico also overtook Spain and France, as Latin America increasingly becomes a hot spot for the pandemic.

Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador has prioritised reactivating the economy over enforcing strict lockdowns, a strategy that has drawn criticism that his government hasn't taken the virus seriously enough.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell, who's leading the country's response to the virus, has said the disease's impact in Mexico has been exacerbated by inequality and an overabundance of processed foods, which have contributed to illnesses that make Covid-19 even more deadly.

Like other Latin American countries, Mexico has vulnerable populations where people must work to meet basic needs and live in crowded quarters, adding to the challenge of enforcing social distancing.

The country posted repeated record rises in Covid-19 cases this week, with health officials reporting more than 7,000 new confirmed cases for the first time last Thursday night.

Despite that, Mr Lopez-Gatell has said the illness is not spreading in the country as quickly as it was.