MEXICO CITY, Sept 2  — Mexico has passed through the worst of the health and economic crises sparked by the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador said on Tuesday.

In his second state of the nation address, the president said the country was gradually restarting productive sectors idled by lockdown measures aimed at containing the spread of the virus, reports Xinhua news agency.

“I predicted that the economic crisis caused by the pandemic would be transitory. I said it would be like a ‘V’: that we would fall but that we would get back up soon,” Lopez Obrador said at the National Palace.

“Fortunately, this is what is happening. The worst is over and now we are moving up,” added Lopez Obrador, who took office on Dec 1, 2018, for a six-year term.

The president presided over a minute of silence for the fatal victims of COVID-19, and focused mainly on his government’s crusade against corruption and waste, which he said has saved the public sector as much as 560 billion pesos (almost US$26 billion) since he took office.

The resources have been used to fund welfare programmes for the poor, elderly and disadvantaged children, mainly in rural and indigenous communities, he said, noting that improving the quality of life for the most vulnerable is also part of his campaign to fight crime.

“It should not be forgotten that by focusing government solidarity on the poorest, we also indirectly benefit sectors that have some or a lot of savings capacity,” Lopez Obrador said in his 45-minute speech.

Mexico has the world’s fourth-largest COVID-19 death toll and eighth-largest outbreak, with 64,414 deaths and 599,560 confirmed cases of infection, according to the Centre for Systems Science and Engineering at Johns Hopkins University.


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