US and Mexico to curb border travel to control coronavirus
SAN DIEGO (AP) — Mexico and the U.S. announced plans Friday to sharply limit travel over their busy shared border as part of efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus.
President Donald Trump and Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Ebrard said the two governments agreed to prohibit recreational and tourist travel, similar to the restrictions put in place earlier this week along the U.S. and Canadian border.
Trump said the actions with the country's North American partners “will save countless lives.”
There would be no ban on people traveling for work or other essential activities and there would be no halt to commercial traffic, Ebrard said.
“Everyone else is not expected to have any difficulties," he said. "We're not talking about closing it.”
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the restrictions would take effect at midnight Friday.
The U.S., Mexico and Canada have also worked out a new agreement to immediately return people trying to illegally cross the borders, citing the potential health risk of detaining migrants amid the outbreak.
By excluding commercial traffic from the ban, the two governments substantially softened the economic effects. Fewer Americans are also heading south because of a statewide stay-at-home order in California and a State Department warning advising Americans not to travel abroad.
Still, the restrictions are a major development along the world's most heavily crossed border.
Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf told reporters at the White House that the restrictions were aimed at eliminating non-essential travel across that border.
“We want to make sure that cargo continues, trade continues, heath care workers continue to be able to traverse that border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other...