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Mexico's Pemex relaxes COVID-19 rules, orders senior staff back to location

MEXICO CITY, April 22 (Reuters) - Mexican state oil company Petroleos Mexicanos ordered most senior management to return to work in person as of next week, an internal memo shows, even as the country reports hundreds of new COVID-19 deaths a day.

Most management at Pemex, as the company is known, has not been required to work from its locations, including its towering Mexico City headquarters, since the pandemic began, said a source who is not authorized to speak to the media.

“From April 26, all heads of areas, levels of management, assistant management and superintendents, must report to work in person with the exception of those who suffer from diseases that makes them vulnerable,” according to the memo seen by Reuters.

It was not immediately clear how many in Pemex’s active workforce of nearly 150,600 are affected. The April 19 memo did not detail any safety measures.

The memo, which has not previously been reported, was sent by human resources and addressed to senior management members.

Pemex did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Mexico City government guidelines on the gradual reopening of the economy recommend the continued promotion of working from home.

Mexico City Mayor Claudia Sheinbaum said earlier this week during a news conference the return of workers to offices depends on the pace of vaccinations.

While Mexico has emerged from a second wave of the pandemic and daily reported deaths are well below a January peak, they still run to hundreds a day and officials worry about another spike in coming weeks.

On Wednesday, the health ministry reported thousands of new confirmed cases in the country and hundreds more fatalities, bringing its total to 2,315,811 infections and 213,597 deaths.

Official data published recently suggested Mexico’s real death toll from COVID-19 is at least 60% above the confirmed figure. (Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher Editing by Frank Jack Daniel and Richard Chang)

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