By Arturo Castañares
The US Secretary of State and Mexico’s Foreign Secretary are in negotiations to find a way to restrict non-essential travel across the US-Mexico border to prevent the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the US State Department confirmed on Thursday night.
“Secretary of State Michael R. Pompeo spoke today with Mexican Foreign Secretary Marcelo Luis Ebrard Casaubon on coordinating a plan to restrict non-essential travel across our shared border in response to the COVID-19 pandemic,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said.
The discussions are much like the still-ongoing talks with Canada after President Trump announced on Wednesday that US-Canada border traffic would be restricted, but details have still not been released as to what constitutes “essential travel”.
Unlike recent unilateral travel bans instituted on travel from the European Union and the United Kingdom without consulting those countries, the ongoing negotiations with Caanda and now Mexico are bilateral between the US and its neighbors.
The proposed ban comes as California Governor Gavin Newson issued an emergency order on Thursday requiring all California residents to shelter at home indefinitely to slow the spread of the COVID-19 virus. Newsom’s order keeps open essential services such as banks, gas stations, pharmacies, grocery stores, farmers’ markets, food banks, convenience stores, and restaurants (only for takeout of delivery), as well as local government offices that provide programs and services, and law enforcement agencies.
On Thursday, the US State Department also issued a “Level 4: Do Not Travel” advisory warning American citizens not to travel abroad to any country during the virus pandemic.