Mexico Mulls Shutting Northern Border Over Virus Spread Threat

Mexican Deputy Health Secretary Hugo Lopez-Gatell has considered shutting down its northern border with the US to limit the spread of Covid-19, reported Reuters

"The possible flow of coronavirus would come from the north to the south. If it were technically necessary, we would consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance," Lopez-Gatell told reporters on Thursday.

The lack of test kits in Mexico and the US have made it difficult to get an accurate reading of community spreading in both countries. So far, Mexico has confirmed 16 cases and no deaths. The US has 2,174 cases and 47 deaths. 

Americas Covid-19 Virus Map 

The World Health Organization declared Covid-19 a global pandemic last week, which has rapidly spread to more than 147,000 people from Asia to the Middle East, Europe, and now to the Americas. The virus has transformed the usual US-Mexico border dispute into another crisis, not because of migrants and drugs, but rather the fear of virus transmission. 

Mexican health officials pointed out the fast-spreading virus in California could make its way through several land port of entries south of San Diego. In particular, the San Ysidro Land Port of Entry, the busiest land port in the Western Hemisphere. 

San Ysidro Port of Entry 

President Trump tweeted last week, "We need the Wall more than ever!" Trump made similar comments during a political rally in South Carolina last month:

"One of the reasons the numbers are so good: We will do everything in our power to keep the infection and those carrying the infection from entering our country," he said. "You've all seen the wall has gone up like magic."

Last week, Trump tweeted, "because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths related to CoronaVirus. If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!"

US ambassador to Mexico Christopher Landau said Thursday the virus outbreak is another reason for stricter border controls. 

"For both countries, it doesn't benefit us to have completely open borders," Landau said. "We see it now with the virus, and hopefully we can work closely together because in health issues, political parties and borders aren't important."

As virus cases and deaths rise in the US, the probabilities increase of a border shutdown or at least reduced travel through major land ports between both countries.