Mexican president warns against Christmas gatherings in country: Leave 'presents for another time'

Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador on Friday warned against large Christmas gatherings in the country and said to avoid exchanging Christmas presents to beat back the coronavirus pandemic.

“Let’s leave Christmas presents for another time,” López Obrador said, according to Reuters.

The warning came as Mexico reported 12,127 new coronavirus cases on Friday, according to the news outlet, setting a record for a single-day rise in the country. It was also the first time Mexico recorded more than 10,000 new cases for three days straight.


López Obrador urged people to scale down or avoid traditional family gatherings over Christmas and New Year’s. He also advised people to stay at home unless they have something “truly important to do.”

However, he added that there would be no mandatory lockdown. 

Mexico surpassed 1 million coronavirus infections last month,and became the fourth country to pass 100,000 fatalities.

World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus said in a press briefing on Monday that “Mexico is in bad shape” with the pandemic, according to The Associated Press, and urged its leaders to take the pandemic seriously.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention determined that visitors to the country are at high risk of contracting the virus and urged travelers to avoid going to the country altogether. Those who do go are advised to get tested before and after the trip and to stay home for seven days after travel.

The warning from the Mexican president echoes similar calls from some U.S. state and local leaders who urged Americans to keep their Thanksgiving gatherings small this year amid the pandemic. But despite those warnings, the U.S. saw a high amount of travel around the holiday. 

There have been 1,156,770 cases of COVID-19 in Mexico since the pandemic began, according to a count from Johns Hopkins University, and 108,863 deaths.