Carolina Hernandez Escobar is comforted by a family member while holding an urn containing the remains of her mother Lucia Escobar Paredes, 75, who died of the COVID-19, outside of Izaz crematorium, in Mexico City, Mexico, April 22, 2020. (Photo: Agencies)
MEXICO CITY - Mexico's President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador on Wednesday unveiled his government's plan to rework this year's budget so that more money is available for social programs to cushion the economic impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on the poor and working class.
The plan raises spending on welfare programs by more than 622 billion pesos ($25.3 billion), the president told reporters at his daily morning press conference.
"Efficiency, honesty and austerity allow us to increase the budget to strengthen protection for social programs and priority projects by 622.556 billion pesos," he said.
Some planned government spending has been put on hold, except for 32 key projects and welfare programs designed to improve the lives of the nation's most vulnerable, he said.
Mexican health authorities on Tuesday announced the country was entering phase 3 of the outbreak, marked by an expected spike in infections and hospitalizations.
They also rolled out stricter social distancing measures through May 30 that severely restrict mobility, including suspending most subway lines.
In Mexico, 9,501 people have tested positive for COVID-19, and 857 have died of the disease, since the first case of infection was detected on Feb 28.