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MEXICO CITY (AP) — Mexico’s Sept. 16 Independence Day celebrations were muted by the coronavirus pandemic, with a small, symbolic gathering replacing the usual massive military parade Wednesday.

The ceremony was dominated by the awarding of “Miguel Hidalgo” medals, the country’s highest civilian honor, to 58 doctors, nurses and health personnel involved in the treating COVID-19 patients.

Independence Day marks the start of the 1810-21 struggle for freedom from Spain, and has also been celebrated the night before for over a century.

But both during Tuesday night’s fireworks and Wednesday’s small military display in Mexico City’s main plaza, spectators were few and kept far away as a precaution to prevent the spread of coronavirus. Mexico has suffered over 676,000 cases and almost 72,000 deaths, the fourth-highest number in the world.

“Unfortunately, the pandemic stole the festivities as they normally are, but we were able to enjoy it anyway,” said Minerva Nuñez, a tourist visiting with her family from the northern state of Tamaulipas.

Rutsela Cardenas, a businesswoman from Cancún visiting the capital with her husband, said she understood the need to ban crowds at the Independence Day celebrations, which usually draw about 100,000 rowdy revelers to the enormous plaza.

“People behaved very well, very properly,” Cardenas said. “These are measures that are necessary, because we are not in a situation where we can just walk around normally.”

Each year, the president rings the bell that marked the call to arms during the independence struggle and shouts “Viva Mexico!” and “vivas” to independence heroes. That shout, or “grito,” gives the ceremony its name. President Andrés Manuel López Obrador performed the “grito,” Tuesday night, but only in front of a select number of invited guests. He added a “viva” to “hope for the future!” Tuesday.

The event has not been cancelled since 1847, during the Mexican-American War, when U.S. troops occupied Mexico City.

Copyright © 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, written or redistributed.

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Zendaya wore an elegant dress with a plunging neckline for the virtual Emmys, and promised it wouldn't be the only look of the night

Zendaya made sure to bring the glamour for the virtual Emmys on Sunday. Zendaya/Instagram

  • Zendaya brought the glamour to the virtual 2020 Emmys on Sunday. 
  • The "Euphoria" star sported a Christopher John Rogers dress with a plunging neckline and silk purple skirt. 
  • She also wore sparkling Bulgari jewels and Christian Louboutin pumps with crystal hearts on the front. 
  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

Zendaya has become a red-carpet favorite over the last few years, and a virtual ceremony didn't stop her from bringing major elegance to the 2020 Emmys on Sunday. 

The "Euphoria" star, who received her first Emmy nomination this year for her role as Rue Bennett in the HBO show, took to Instagram to show off her gorgeous Christopher John Rogers ensemble. 

Zendaya did a little spin in the dress — which had a black top with a plunging neckline and a silky purple taffeta skirt — for a short clip on her Instagram story. 

Zendaya wore a Christopher John Rogers dress for the 2020 Emmys. Zendaya/Instagram

She wore her hair back in a simple updo and paired the look with glittering Bulgari jewels. 

Zendaya also sported Christian Louboutin pumps embellished with crystal hearts on the front. 

Zendaya's stylist Law Roach posted a close-up photo of her Bulgari jewels. Law Roach/Instagram

And the actress hinted that there was more glam to come, writing in the caption: "And so it begins … Look 1." 

She posted another "sneak peek" on her Instagram story, sharing a close-up of more glittering jewels. 

Zendaya shared a sneak peek of her second look, complete with plenty of jewels. Zendaya/Instagram

Law Roach, Zendaya's longtime stylist, also shared an Instagram post with her first look, as did designer Christopher John Rogers — who called Zendaya his "muse." 

????????????????The muse, @zendaya, by @luxurylaw in FW20 moire and silk taffeta with @bulgari jewels for good measure! ????☂️????

A post shared by christopher john rogers ???? (@christopherjohnrogers) on Sep 20, 2020 at 2:05pm PDTSep 20, 2020 at 2:05pm PDT

Zendaya recently sported another Christopher John Rogers dress in InStyle's September issue. She exclusively wore Black designers for the cover shoot, which was a first in the magazine's history. 

This girl.... @zendaya

A post shared by Law Roach (@luxurylaw) on Aug 6, 2020 at 2:45pm PDTAug 6, 2020 at 2:45pm PDT

"There are also so many Black designers people don't know about, so having the opportunity where they can be in InStyle and get the love they deserve is really special," Zendaya said during her interview for the magazine. 

Executive producers for the Emmys told attendees in July that the virtual show's dress code would be "come as you are, but make an effort!" 

But Zendaya revealed last month that she had no plans to just wear her pajamas during the ceremony. 

"I do want to dress up. I still want to have the experience," she said during a recent appearance on "Jimmy Kimmel Live." 

"It'll be probably just my family over here," she added. "But I definitely want to pull a look and maybe just walk my living room carpet."

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