Mexico is taking its first steps to reopen from 1 June with a number of industries permitted to return to work.

They include car-part manufacturing plants and construction as well as beer factories and bike shops. However, the decision has been criticised as too hasty by some scientists who say the outbreak is still at its most acute in Mexico.

Almost 10,000 people have died from Covid-19 in Mexico. Meanwhile, the country’s president, Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, is due to embark on a tour of the nation.

President Lopez Obrador has defended his tour, saying he is not waiting to travel “because we must begin the new normal, while continuing to take care of ourselves”.

Several top scientists have criticised the move as misjudged, among them the man who led the response to Mexico’s A/H1N1 influenza outbreak in 2009. Alejandro Macías Hernández told the BBC: “It is not a good message that the first actions be presidential trips when we’re still locked down.”

But the start of reopening is welcome news for many in Mexico’s stricken economy. As many as a million jobs may have been lost through Covid-19 and the economy is expected to contract by as much as 9% this year.