Thursday, December 7, 2023

Chihuahua urges closing border to nonessential traffic to curb Covid cases

In the wake of a sharp increase in Covid-19 cases that is now overwhelming the state’s hospitals, the Chihuahua Congress has asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs to enforce an agreement that is supposed to deny U.S. citizens nonessential entry into Mexico.

By agreement between the two nations, the land border has been closed to all foot and vehicle traffic since March and will remain closed until November 21, and probably longer. In theory, that means Americans seeking to cross into Mexico need an approved reason, such as family or medical emergencies or for work.

However, in practice, say Chihuahua lawmakers, border officials allow U.S. citizens to cross freely into Mexico. They believe such leniency is responsible for the state’s new Covid-19 spike, which has saturated hospitals.

As of yesterday, the state Ministry of Health reported that in the last 24 hours it had confirmed 359 new cases. The state is currently at the orange level (the second highest rating) on the national coronavirus stoplight risk map.

Chihuahua Deputy Alejandro Gloria González of the Ecologist Green Party (PVEM) proposed the resolution, which was unanimously approved. Speaking to the media, Gloria pointed out that El Paso, Texas, which borders the Chihuahua city of Juárez, has one of the largest numbers of confirmed Covid-19 cases in the U.S., adding that the state’s border cities have been the worst hit.

“The free transit of U.S. citizens [over the border] implies a great risk to the bordering cities in our state,” Gloria said. “The backtracking [of the state] to the color orange on the stoplight system for Ciudad Juárez requires immediate action by local authorities, so they are able to contain the pandemic.”

Four public hospitals in Chihuahua are currently at 100% capacity, including two in Juárez, according to the Ministry of Health. The city of El Paso posted this morning on its Twitter account that it had confirmed 670 new Covid cases, for a total of 8,820 that are currently active.

Source: Milenio (sp)

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