Mexico frets about U.S. Coronavirus Spread, could Restrict Borders


MEXICO CITY, March 13 (Reuters) – Mexico could consider measures at its northern border to slow the spread of the coronavirus into its relatively unaffected territory, health officials said on Friday, with an eye to containing a U.S. outbreak that has infected more than 1,800 people.

Mexico so far has confirmed 16 cases of the coronavirus, with no deaths. In the United States, 41 people have died.

Mexican Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said contagion from the United States was a threat.

“If it were technically necessary to consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance we would have to take into account not that Mexico would bring the virus to the United States, rather that the United States could bring it here,” he told a news conference.”

He did not provide details. A health ministry spokeswoman said she had no further information.

The possibility of infection is of particular concern to residents in Mexican frontier cities such as Tijuana – just opposite San Diego, California – many of whom cross the border daily for work or school. Many of them now fear picking up the virus in the United States.

However, the relatively low level of proven cases of coronavirus in Mexico – a nation of some 130 million people where sanitary conditions vary considerably – has raised questions about the government’s relatively hands-off approach to the epidemic.

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