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Relatives of patients hospitalized in the General Hospital of Zone 1 of the Mexican Social Security Institute (IMSS) wait outside for updates. Photo: Alfredo Estrella/AFP via Getty Images

Mexico City and the neighboring State of Mexico will ban nonessential activities in an effort to curb a spike in COVID-19 cases that has overwhelmed hospitals, officials announced Friday.

Driving the news: Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said hospital capacity is at about 75%, but the federal government put the number at 80%, per AP. Families have reported searching for hours to find open hospital beds in the capital.

Details: Starting Saturday, restaurants must close except for takeout.

  • Many nonessential stores must also close and cultural activities will be postponed or cancelled.
  • The restrictions will last until at least Jan. 10.
  • Friday's announcement comes as shopping centers and stores have seen an uptick in customers for the holiday season.

What they're saying: "With these extraordinary measures we will help reduce infections and hospitalizations in the Valley of Mexico," deputy health minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell tweeted Friday.

The big picture: Mexico has nearly 1.3 million confirmed COVID-19 cases and more than 116,480 deaths as of Friday afternoon, per Johns Hopkins University data, though the numbers are believed to be much higher.

  • Mexico City has confirmed more than 19,000 coronavirus-related deaths, and about 20% of the country's cases, per Bloomberg News.

Worth noting: Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has called lockdowns and face-mask mandates tactics of "dictatorship," per AP.

Go deeper

Jan 30, 2021 - World

Science helps New Zealand avoid another coronavirus lockdown

New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern (L) visits a lab at Auckland University in December. Photo: Phil Walter/Getty Images

New Zealand has avoided locking down for a second time over COVID-19 community cases because of a swift, science-led response.

Why it matters: The Health Ministry said in an email to Axios Friday there's "no evidence of community transmission" despite three people testing positive after leaving managed hotel isolation. That means Kiwis can continue to visit bars, restaurants and events as much of the world remains on lockdown.

Jan 29, 2021 - Health

NYC set to restart indoor dining in February, weddings in March

Outdoor dining in New York City in January. Photo: Alexi Rosenfeld/Getty Images

Gov. Andrew Cuomo announced Friday that if the current coronavirus positivity in New York City holds, indoor dining will reopen at 25% capacity on Feb. 14, one of the busiest dining days of the year.

Why it matters: The forced closure of indoor dining in December caused major backlash, as New York's struggling restaurant industry had already been hit hard by pandemic restrictions. Restaurants will still be required to close at 1o p.m.