US border with Mexico will close to nonessential traffic amid coronavirus outbreak

Similar restrictions along the northern border with Canada​ were announced earlier this week.

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President Donald Trump speaks during a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House.

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President Donald Trump on Friday said the US and Mexico have agreed to temporarily restrict nonessential traffic across the border amid the coronavirus pandemic. The president said the move won't impact trade and other essential travel. 

Trump announced a similar move along the northern border with Canada on Wednesday. 

During a coronavirus task force briefing at the White House, officials said the restrictions along the northern and southern US borders go into effect a midnight Saturday and will be reviewed in 30 days. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said both the US and Mexico "know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus," while also ensuring that the "commerce that supports our economy continues to keep flowing."

Mexico's Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard reportedly also announced the border restrictions on Twitter, saying Friday that it's not a closure but travel related to tourism and recreation will be restricted. 

Chad Wolf, the acting secretary of Homeland Security, said an order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention directs the DHS to suspend the introduction of "all individuals seeking to enter the US without proper travel documentation." Border patrol agents will begin turning back migrants who attempt to cross both the Mexican and Canadian borders without documentation, Wolf said.

COVID-19, the disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus first detected in China in December, has rapidly spread across the globe. The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the outbreak a pandemic, saying it expects to see the number of cases and deaths climb higher. As of Friday, there were more than 14,000 cases of coronavirus in the US, with cases reported in all 50 states. 

On Monday, President Donald Trump encouraged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to practice social distancing.

The CDC didn't respond to a request for comment. 

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