Expanding on previous travel restrictions, the Trump administration announced Friday it was effectively closing the U.S.-Mexico border in order to further contain the spread of coronavirus in North America.
An agreement between the two nations to restrict all nonessential travel for the time being was made Friday morning, President Donald Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters in a White House news briefing shortly thereafter.
It has not yet been revealed how long these new restrictions will remain in place. However, the administration did assure that the flow of lawful trade and commerce will not be halted or disrupted.
“Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus and ensure the commerce that supports our economy continues to keep flowing,” Pompeo said. “The United States is glad to have a friend that’s working side beside us in the fight.”
.@SecPompeo: “The United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across our shared border.”
— CSPAN (@cspan) March 20, 2020
Numerous similar travel restrictions have come down from the White House in recent weeks — beginning with China on Jan. 31, as cases began cropping up outside the virus’ country of origin, which was then reporting roughly 12,000 confirmed cases, according to The New York Times.
In the nearly two months since then, those restrictions expanded to encompass Iran and the European Union as confirmed cases and deaths began to skyrocket across an aging and densely populated Italy, CNN reported.
Initially excluded, the United Kingdom and Ireland were retroactively included in the European travel ban on March 14.
Mexico was not America’s only continental neighbor to agree to proceed with decreased contact amid the pandemic, however.
A 30-day ban on nonessential travel between the U.S. and Canada already had been reached Wednesday and also included provisions for work-related mobility and commercial border crossings.
NEW: Pres. Trump says U.S. is working with Mexico “to suspend non-essential travel. These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce.”
— ABC News Politics (@ABCPolitics) March 20, 2020
Trump and Pompeo extolled these measures Friday morning, suggesting they would be key to hedging against rapidly increasing U.S. cases of coronavirus while preventing further economic fallout.
“As we did with Canada, we are also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend non-essential travel. These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce,” Trump said. “The actions we’re taking together with our North American partners will save countless lives.”
“These measures will protect the health of all three nations and reduce the incentive for mass global migration that would badly deplete the healthcare resources needed for our people,” he added, according to Fox News.
The administration’s North American travel crackdown comes amid a nearly 700 percent increase in domestic coronavirus cases over the course of just one week, leaving the total at 14,631 cases, according to Johns Hopkins University data.
Neither Canada nor Mexico has breached the 1,000-case threshold.
Experts say this week’s dramatic spike in U.S. cases is mostly statistical, resulting in large part from an increase in test kit availability.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.