Mexico could tighten its northern border to slow the spread of coronavirus into its territory

Hugo Lopez-Gatell

Mexico health officials said on Friday March 13th, they will take the necessary measures to contain the virus out of Mexican territory, as a U.S. outbreak has already infected more than 1,800 people.

Mexico so far has 26 confirmed cases of the coronavirus, with no deaths. While in the United States, 41 people have died.

Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said contagion from the United States was a threat.

“If it were technically necessary to consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance we would have to take into account not that Mexico would bring the virus to the United States, rather that the United States could bring it here,” Lopez-Gatell told a news conference.

He did not provide details. A health ministry spokeswoman said she had no further information.

The risk of infection is of particular concern to residents in frontier cities such as Tijuana, opposite San Diego, many of whom cross the border daily for work or school. Some now fear picking up the virus in the United States.

Still, the low tally of proven cases of coronavirus in Mexico – a nation of some 130 million people where sanitary conditions vary considerably – has raised questions about the government’s relatively hands-off approach to the epidemic.

There are some signs that is starting to change.

On Friday evening, Lopez-Gatell said the government would this weekend recommend that private and public bodies suspend non-essential services linked to the public such as classes, seminars and forums in order to curb mass gatherings of people.

Mexican officials want to avoid aggravating the economic impact of the virus by imposing sweeping restrictions unless the situation worsens considerably. Mexico already faces the risk of a second straight year of recession, economists say.

U.S. President Donald Trump says coronavirus bolsters his argument for building a wall against Mexico.

Source: Reuters



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