MEXICO CITY (Reuters) – The number of Mexicans who died from the new flu virus has jumped to 42, Mexican Health Minister Jose Angel Cordova said on Wednesday as the country tried to return to normal after a five-day shutdown.

The death toll in Mexico from the H1N1 flu had previously been 29, but Cordova told reporters tests had come in that confirmed additional cases, mostly of people who died several weeks ago.

The government says the infection is on the retreat in Mexico, although the disease is spreading globally and the number of deaths in the United States rose to two when a Texas woman died this week.

Traffic was brisk in Mexico City on Wednesday morning after the government lifted a closure of workplaces aimed at preventing contamination.

Health authorities have said as many as 176 people could have died from the new flu in Mexico but that the true number of deaths may never be known.

The World Health Organisation says 1,516 people in 22 countries have caught the virus.