'This is not New York': Mexico president defends coronavirus response

FILE PHOTO: Mexico's President Obrador holds a news conference in Mexico City

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador defended his government's handling of the coronavirus on Thursday after official data showed new deaths for a 24-hour period surging to an all-time high.

The health ministry reported 1,092 new deaths on Wednesday, more than double the previous daily record, pushing Mexico's daily death toll past the United States for the first time since the outbreak started. Officials attributed the jump to improved documentation.

But Lopez Obrador said Mexico had the virus under control, praising in particular the country's care of the elderly during the pandemic.

"This is not New York," Lopez Obrador said during his regular morning news conference. "We will continue like this, taking care of ourselves. We won't let our guard down."

Lopez Obrador said the country has seen a lower number of deaths relative to population from the virus than the likes of France, Spain, Germany and Brazil.

"Let there not be psychosis, let there not be fear," he said.

Mexico has now registered 101,238 cases of coronavirus, and its tally of deaths is 11,729, making it the seventh country with the most deaths from the virus, according to the John Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering.

Under pressure from the United States, Mexico this week began reopening its vast auto industry, which underpins billions of dollars of business through cross-border supply chains.

However, plans to further relax social distancing measures this week were put on hold in recognition of the fact that infections had not yet begun to fall.


(Reporting by Raul Cortes Fernandez and Julia Love; Editing by Chris Reese)