The officials of Mexico are going to install health checkpoints at the many entry points along its northern border this weekend, as both Mexican and US officials fear a rise of crossings for the July 4 holiday can spread the coronavirus or COVID-19.
Mexican consulates around the US issued warnings previous week on the social media of the increased measures scheduled for July 2 through July 5 and urged the people to avoid crossing for the recreation or tourism.
A ban on non-essential border travel has been in place since March in an attempt by both governments to limit coronavirus infections, yet cross-border traffic has been busy. Mexico's northern border region is home to a large population of U.S. citizens, green card holders and dual nationals who are typically free to cross back and forth.
Mexico to Install Health Checkpoints
In Sonora, which has Mexico's third-highest coronavirus rate per capita and sits opposite Arizona, Governor Claudia Pavlovich said health screenings would span beaches and towns frequented by Mexicans and tourists. Neighboring Baja California, including the bustling border city of Tijuana across from San Diego, ranks fifth for most coronavirus cases per capita.
Chihuahua, Coahuila, Nuevo Leon and Tamaulipas states have each registered at least several thousand confirmed cases, and all sit opposite Texas, which is grappling with a surge in infections including a record number of hospitalizations on Friday. U.S. Ambassador Christopher Landau last week urged people to stay put in one country or the other over the Independence Day weekend. Hundreds of thousands of people cross by land per day despite the ban on non-essential travel, he said.
"If U.S. citizens continue to make casual cross-border trips, the restrictions will increase, not decrease," Landau wrote on Twitter. "Whichever side of the border you live on, this is NOT the time to cross to shop, eat, or visit family on the other side."
(With agency inputs)