MEXICO'S murder rate is worse than ever during coronavirus lockdown as cartels look to take advantage of the current pandemic.
A report showed that killings in the country had risen by 8% from February to March after it implemented a total shutdown and introduced social distancing measures at the end of March.
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The country has currently suffered 1,351 coronavirus deaths with 14,677 confirmed cases, but this has not stopped the bloodshed, with the cartel killing more in the last month than the virus itself.
The March homicide rate was 3,000, up from 2,766 in February, the highest recorded since July 2018 when 3,708 were murdered.
Despite Mexico's 100,000 strong National Guard, 225,000 armed forces and large numbers of law enforcement, it appears many are now tied up battling coronavirus on the frontline, leaving room for bloodthirsty gangs to move in.
Just 4,000 troops were deployed to eradicate drug crops, while 18,600 troops were deployed to enforce measures aimed to fight the pandemic and 69,000 were on construction duty as the country aims to build its new airport in Mexico City.
The homicide rate was highest in the northern state of Guanajuato, where there were 1,163 killings in the first four months of 2020.
The relatively wealthy and industrial state has been the scene of a bloody turf war between the Jalisco cartel and a local gang since 2017.
However, homicides decreased in the Pacific coast resort city of Acapulco, a region popular with tourists.
President Lopez Obrador admitted that this showed that there was more to the shocking figures than initially thought.
He said: "It seemed in late March when the coronavirus had become more widespread, that we would have a considerable reduction [in violence].
"Unfortunately, it didn't turn out that way.
"Guanajuato is one of the states with the highest sustained rates of economic growth.
“Nonetheless, it is the state with the most violence. That has to do with other causes, inequality. Growth is not synonymous with welfare."
Since the president came into power in December 2018, there have been more than 46,000 people murdered in the country.
Obrador has blamed the high figure on lethal gangs fighting over turf and drug-trafficking routes.
The Drug Enforcement Agency is offering a $10million (£8 million) reward for information leading to the arrest of Nemesio 'El Mencho' Oseguera Cervantes, the leader of the Jalisco New Generation Cartel.
The 53-year-old is considered to be the most powerful criminal syndicate in Mexico and is the most wanted man in the country.
Not only has the homicide rate seen an increase, but there has also been increasing numbers of medical staff attacked on the street while others have been refused access to public transport services.
Some say they are so frightened of being attacked that they change out of their uniform before leaving work as many believe medical workers could be carrying the deadly bug after treating patients with Covid-19.
The deadly virus reached Mexico in February but there has been some discrepancy over the real number of cases across the country.
In January, the Secretariat of Health issued a statement saying that the bug did not present a danger to Mexico but have since been forced to put lockdown measure in place.