Mexico’s President Obrador holds a news conference in Mexico City Reuters

Mexico’s President Andrés Manuel López Obrador advised citizens to avoid gatherings, traveling, and exchanging presents this holiday season as the coronavirus continues to spread. 

Mexico has the fourth-highest coronavirus death toll in the world, according to data from Johns Hopkins University. 

“Let’s leave Christmas presents for another time,” Obrador said in an effort to contain the spread of the virus, according to Reuters.

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Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told citizens on Friday to avoid festivities and exchanging gifts this holiday season to stop the spread of the coronavirus, Reuters reported.

“Let’s leave Christmas presents for another time,” Obrador said, urging people to avoid traveling unless there is something “truly important to do.”

Obrador also announced that he expects to see hospitalizations rise and test the capacity, equipment, and staff levels, Reuters reported. But he will not enforce mandatory lockdowns to curb the spread of the virus, he said.

Positive coronavirus cases have been spiking in Mexico in recent weeks, according to the latest data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

With more than 1.1 million confirmed cases, Mexico’s infection counts pales in comparison with the United States, which has counted more than 14.3 million, the world’s most confirmed coronavirus cases. 

Still, US officials are worried about Americans contracting the coronavirus while traveling in Mexico. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, for example, is urging Americans to “avoid all travel to Mexico.” 

Mexico, with more than 108,000 deaths, has the fourth-highest death toll rate in the world, behind India, Brazil, and the United States, according to data from Johns Hopkins University.

Obrador said his words of caution are particularly important in large metropolitan areas like Mexico City, Reuters reported. Almost 9 million people live in Mexico City, and people have already begun to prepare for the holiday season.

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Best Buy stores had to temporarily shut down on Thursday after crowds gathered to take advantage of deals. The consumer electronics retailer announced it will depart from Mexico beginning December 31, and shoppers showed up in droves to seek out sales.

Already, hospitals in Mexico City have grown overwhelmed as coronavirus cases continue to spike, the Associated Press reported. 

“Mexico is in bad shape,” said Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus, World Health Organization director-general, in a press briefing earlier this week. He also urged leaders to step up and respond to the threats of the pandemic seriously.

Obrador has in the past downplayed the disease and has received criticism for his handling of the pandemic. 

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