Sunday, June 16, 2024

Sonora tightens US border crossings as Arizona virus cases spike

Tourists from the United States will not be welcome in Sonora over the Fourth of July holiday weekend.

The Mexico-United States border is closed to nonessential travel until July 21 but Governor Claudia Pavlovich Arellano nevertheless affirmed that people seeking to enter Sonora from Arizona – where coronavirus cases have spiked recently – for nonessential purposes will not be allowed in this weekend.

She said Wednesday she had advised the foreign affairs minister of the plan to block the entry of nonessential travelers from the United States and he expressed his support for the plan.

She also said she spoke with Arizona government officials and United States Ambassador Christopher Landau and that they understood Sonora’s perspective and didn’t consider blocking nonessential travelers an affront to the U.S.

“We don’t want [people from the United States] to come to Sonora at this time,” Pavlovich said.

Almost 50,000 new coronavirus cases were reported in the United States on Wednesday, the fifth single-day case record in just eight days, and Arizona, as well as the border states of California and Texas, are among the new Covid-19 hotspots in Mexico’s northern neighbor.

Case numbers spiked sharply in Arizona in June. Just 187 new cases were reported on June 1 while 4,797 cases were reported on June 30, according to a New York Times database.

Pavlovich reminded Arizona residents that Sonora’s Gulf of California beaches will be closed this weekend and warned them that upon arrival at the border they will be asked to return home if they don’t have an essential reason to enter the state.

Authorities in Puerto Peñasco, also known as Rocky Point or “Arizona’s Beach” due to its proximity to the Grand Canyon State, said this week that visitors were welcome to return to the resort destination but the welcome mat won’t be rolled out to U.S. tourists until July 21 at the earliest.

Pavlovich said that U.S. visitors will not only be unwelcome on Sonora’s beaches this weekend but also in border cities such as San Luis Río Colorado, Nogales and Agua Prieta and municipalities of the Sonoran Sierra Madre Occidental.

“We’re all going to be on alert,” the governor said, adding that Mexicans who live in the United States, American citizens and anyone else who seeks to cross the border for nonessential purposes will be refused entry.

“These decisions have been taken,” Pavlovich said, stressing that Sonora cannot run the risk of increasing its Covid-19 caseload.

The northern state had recorded 8,976 confirmed Covid-19 cases as of Wednesday night, according to the Health Ministry, and 909 deaths.

Source: El Sol de Hermosillo (sp) 

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