But as Mexico moves to a new level of economic activity starting Monday, June 1, government health authorities acknowledged last week that coronavirus cases continue to rise nationally despite a stay-at-home program that began March 23 and was to end Sunday, May 31. Reuters reported that Mexico had more than 81,000 coronavirus cases and 9,000 deaths as of last week.
“No one should be confused that the overall epidemic in the country has reached its peak and is in decline,” said Hugo López-Gatell, assistant secretary at the Health Ministry and spokesman for the coronavirus program. “That is not the case.”
Indeed, a new coronavirus map released by the government shows every Mexican state except one marked in red to signify “maximum risk.”
But Mexico is still under tremendous pressure to reactivate its economy — especially when it comes to manufacturing for the deeply integrated North American market. Analysts say it is difficult to overstate how important the Mexican auto sector is to its U.S. and Canadian counterparts.
“A huge part of the industry is dependent on Mexico,” said Bernard Swiecki, assistant director of research at the Center for Automotive Research in Ann Arbor, Mich. “It’s our biggest international source of parts and components, so I don’t think there’s an automaker that’s immune to these concerns.”
Mercedes-Benz U.S. International in Alabama, which in late April became one of the first automakers to resume assembly in the United States, had to close down again after it ran out of components from Mexico. GM said that moving to a second shift at its U.S. truck plants was dependent on whether its Mexican suppliers can restart their operations.