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Mexico to reopen construction, mining, auto manufacturing

FILE - In this April 3, 2020 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks after visiting facilities at a Mexican Social Security Institute hospital that will be converted to receive patients suffering from Covid-19, in the Coyoacan district of Mexico City. Lopez Obrador said that sections of 80 public hospitals were being isolated and prepared with an average of eight beds and respirators to care for an expected influx of patients with the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File)
FILE - In this April 3, 2020 file photo, Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador speaks after visiting facilities at a Mexican Social Security Institute hospital that will be converted to receive patients suffering from Covid-19, in the Coyoacan district of Mexico City. Lopez Obrador said that sections of 80 public hospitals were being isolated and prepared with an average of eight beds and respirators to care for an expected influx of patients with the new coronavirus. (AP Photo/Rebecca Blackwell, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

MEXICO CITY – Mexico’s top advisory body on the coronavirus pandemic said Tuesday it has issued guidelines that would allow for the re-opening of construction, mining, and car and truck manufacturing.

The General Health Council said that following a meeting it had decided to classify those industries as “essential activities” that are allowed to continue working during a lock-down aimed at fighting the spread of the novel coronavirus.

The council did not set a timeline for when the reopening would begin. But it said that by June 1, a ‘stoplight’ system should be in place to tell local populations what activities are allowed.

The council also said that restrictions on schools and businesses should be lifted in townships that have no cases of COVID-19 and whose neighboring townships also have no cases.

President Andrés Manuel López Obrador is set to announce a plan for the “gradual” resumption of economic activities Wednesday.

Mexico has been under pressure from U.S. officials to reopen auto plants, because without them, integrated supply chains would make it hard for plants in the U.S. and Canada to reopen.

Mexico currently has over 38,000 confirmed cornavirus cases — though officials acknowledged the real figure is many times higher — and almost 4,000 deaths.

For most people, the new coronavirus causes mild or moderate symptoms, such as fever and cough that clear up in two to three weeks. For some, especially older adults and people with existing health problems, it can cause more severe illness, including pneumonia and death.