Saturday, June 15, 2024

Few measures in place to check health of travelers crossing US border

Although the United States leads the world in cases of Covid-19, there are currently no restrictions on people entering Mexico from its northern neighbor and few states are doing anything to prevent them from bringing the coronavirus across the border.

United States President Donald Trump announced on March 20 the suspension of all nonessential travel across the U.S.-Mexico border. The suspension allows U.S. citizens, permanent residents and people with essential work to cross into the United States, but does nothing to stop anyone from going the other way.

As of Sunday, only Tamaulipas and Sonora had instituted preventative measures at their border crossings, despite the announcement by chief U.S. epidemiologist Dr. Anthony Fauci that the death toll in the United States could go as high as 200,000 people.

As of Monday, there were 153,246 confirmed Covid-19 cases in the United States, and 2,828 deaths from the disease.

The busiest crossings on the border — in Tijuana, Baja California, and Ciudad Juárez, Chihuahua — have implemented no preventative measures beyond handing out flyers to those entering Mexico.

A government worker takes temperatures of travelers in Tamaulipas.
A government worker takes temperatures of travelers in Tamaulipas.

In Juárez, traffic officers wearing protective clothing handed out flyers containing general and preventative information on Covid-19 to people crossing from El Paso, Texas, on Sunday. They did not inquire about symptoms, take temperatures or attempt to regulate entry in any way.

At the time of publication, Chihuahua had six confirmed cases of Covid-19, while in Texas the number was over 2,500 and rising.

At the frontier’s busiest crossing in Tijuana, just south of San Diego, California, border officials were doing even less than their counterparts in Juárez.

A U.S. citizen who crosses the border daily told the newspaper El Universal that no one asks her anything thing about her health when she enters Tijuana, but U.S. border officials ask her if she’s had symptoms when she returns to California.

The crossings in the border towns of Piedras Negras and Ciudad Acuña, in Coahuila, likewise had not implemented specific control measures related to Covid-19 as of Sunday. They are across the border from Eagle Pass and Del Rio, Texas, respectively.

On the other hand, the state of Tamaulipas deployed 250 health officials to its 15 international crossings with the United States on Sunday. They took people’s temperatures and distributed hand sanitizer to those crossing into the state.

Health and customs officials in Sonora have been taking temperatures and checking for symptoms among those entering since March 25.

The governors of Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas called on the federal government on Friday to take action on the country’s northern border.

“We don’t have the faculties to close the border, but [President Andrés Manuel López Obrador] does and he should use them,” said Nuevo León Governor Jaime Rodríguez Calderón.

Source: El Universal (sp)

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