Baja California has requested that the federal government install health screening checkpoints at the state’s international border crossings in order to detect possible cases of Covid-19 coming into Mexico.
State Congress president Luis Moreno asked federal Foreign Affairs Minister Marcelo Ebrard to install screening checkpoints on the border to locate and isolate people “who continue to import the virus to Baja California border towns.”
State Health Minister Alonso Pérez Rico said that the virus was brought to the state by people entering from its neighbor to the north.
“We have detected cases [imported] from the United States of people who cross the border into Baja California after testing positive for Covid-19 in order to be treated in the state’s health centers, because they don’t have health insurance in their country or because of the high cost of treatment in California,” said Pérez.
Baja California authorities said the decision by the federal Health Ministry not to set up border control mechanisms in recent weeks has allowed many patients to enter the state, despite U.S. restrictions on Mexicans entering the country during the pandemic.
The pandemic has significantly decreased transborder traffic, where some media reports have cited crossings as much as 70-90% lower than normal. But considering that the Tijuana-San Ysidro crossing is the world’s busiest, there are still many opportunities for the virus to cross into Baja California.
Pérez and other officials fear that the situation could cause a resurgence of the outbreak in the state, which currently occupies third place in the number of confirmed cases in the country.
Baja California authorities closed the state’s beaches in late March to prevent the spread of the virus, but the lack of controls at the border appears to have fueled the outbreak, especially in Tijuana.