Mexico City, Jan 21:
The death toll from a devastating oil pipeline blast in Mexico has increased to 79, Minister of Public Health Jorge Alcocer said on Sunday.
"There are still patients (at least 81) who sustained serious injuries, with burns of more than 80 per cent," he said in a press conference, accompanied by Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador, Xinhua news agency reported.
Lopez Obrador, who took office on December 1, said his government will not back down on the measures that have been undertaken since the end of last year to fight against fuel theft.
"We are not going to give up, and I offer to the people apologies if this action causes sacrifices, damages and inconveniences," he said.
"We have to do it... Mexico needs to end corruption and it is not negotiable," he added.
According to the latest figures from the government, fuel theft cost the country some $3 billion in 2018.
The explosion and ensuing blaze occurred at a pipeline spot in Tlahuelilpan town on Friday evening.
The accident is one of the worst tragedies caused by pipeline explosions in Mexico in recent years.