US and Mexican officials have jointly announced that they are closing the southern border to all “non-essential travel.” However, the border closing will not impact cross-border trade.
During Friday’s White House coronavirus task force briefing, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said both countries agreed to restrict the border while “keeping commerce flowing.” The State Department chief said the U.S. is “glad to have a friend working side-by-side” in the fight against the coronavirus.
Acting Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said, per a CDC order, all individuals without legitimate travel documentation will be turned away at the border.
“Our nation’s top healthcare officials are extremely concerned about the grave public health consequences of mass, uncontrolled cross-border movement,” he explained. “Every week our border agents encounter thousands of unscreened, unvetted and unauthorized entries from dozens of countries.”
This announcement came after President Trump said earlier this week that the U.S. and Canada agreed to close that border also to “non-essential travel,” also noting then that that trade between the US and Canada will not be affected.
“As we did with Canada, we’re also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend non-essential travel,” Trump said. “These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.” Trump said that Mexico is also suspending air travel from Europe.
Meanwhile, The State Department on Thursday issued a new travel alert urging Americans not to go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.
As the world works to slow the spread of coronavirus, countries have imposed a variety of travel restrictions, which range from suspending international flights and banning travelers from impacted countries, to requiring citizens or foreign nationals to self-quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
As of the writing of this article, worldwide there have been 271,670 confirmed cases of COVID-19 and 11,299 deaths.