Thursday, December 7, 2023

Mexico, US extend land border closure till October 21

The border between Mexico and the United States will remain closed to nonessential travel until at least October 21, Mexico’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs said Thursday.

“After reviewing the development of the spread of Covid-19, Mexico proposed to the United States the extension, for another month, of the restrictions on nonessential land transit on their common border,” the Foreign Ministry reported on its Twitter account.

The governments of Mexico and the United States agreed to close nonessential travel in March in order to inhibit the spread of the coronavirus. This is the sixth renewal of that order, which is evaluated on a monthly basis.

The measure does not affect trade between neighboring countries or Mexicans who have work permits or essential business in the U.S. The closure mainly affects vehicular travel and residents of the border region. Citizens and permanent residents of the United States do not face restrictions entering the U.S., nor do those with temporary work visas, emergency personnel, students or government officials.

Access by land will be denied to those traveling for tourism or recreational purposes, such as people who cross into the United States or Mexico to shop, go on vacation or visit relatives.

Mexicans and Americans arriving in either country by plane are not affected and may travel freely.

Non-U.S. citizens may travel from Mexico to the United States via Tijuana’s Cross Border Xpress (CBX), a 390-foot pedestrian bridge for passengers linking the Tijuana International Airport with a terminal in San Diego, if they can demonstrate an essential reason to travel.

Passengers whose purpose for travel is considered essential may cross through CBX with official documentation.

However, there are no restrictions for CBX passengers headed south, but travelers have to fill out a questionnaire that is reviewed by Mexican authorities.

The United States eased its travel advisory for Mexico on September 8, from level 4 “Do Not Travel” level 3 “Reconsider Travel.”

The advisory reads, “Reconsider travel to Mexico due to Covid-19. Exercise increased caution in Mexico due to crime and kidnapping. Some areas have increased risk.”

Mexico’s border with the United States, which stretches for more than 3,000 kilometers, is normally one of the busiest in the world.

On the U.S. side, border states Texas, New Mexico, Arizona and California have a combined total of 1.71 million accumulated coronavirus cases. On the Mexican side, border states Baja California, Sonora, Chihuahua, Nuevo León, Coahuila and Tamaulipas have a total of 137,548 cases, according to official records.

Limited Covid testing in Mexico could be a reason for the vast difference in the numbers.

Source: El Financiero (sp)

CORRECTION: Non-U.S. citizens heading north may use Tijuana’s Cross Border Xpress if they can demonstrate an essential reason for traveling. Incorrect information appeared in the earlier version of this story.

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