US shuts down border with Mexico and Canada

WASHINGTON: The US has announced the closure of its northern border with Canada and the southern border with Mexico for all non-essential travel from 21 March.

While US-Mexico border closure announcement was made on Friday, that with Canada was done on Tuesday. The closure would go into effect on 21 March.’The United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict nonessential travel across our shared border. Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus to ensure the commerce that supports our economy continues to keep flowing,’ Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told reporters at a White House press conference.

The Acting Homeland Security Secretary Wolf Chad said the US has reached an agreement with both Canada and Mexico to limit non-essential travel across their land borders.

”Neither of these agreements with Canada or Mexico applies to lawful trade or commerce. Essential commercial activity will not be impacted,” Chad said. ”We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders. A few examples of essential travel include but certainly are not limited to individuals traveling for medical purposes to attend educational institutions, for emergency response, public health services, and individuals engaged in lawful cross-border trade,” he said.

The US, Chad said, is also working with both Canada and Mexico on initiating joint action on individuals seeking entry between their ports of entry. The Centre for Disease Control (CDC) has directed to suspend entry of all individuals to the US without proper travel documentation.

‘That’s for both the northern and southern border. CDC director has determined that the introduction and spread of the coronavirus in the departments border patrol stations and detention facilities presents serious danger to migrants, our frontline agents, and officers and the American people, Chad said.

Pompeo said the State Department has issued level four global travel advisory. This means that US citizens should avoid all international travel. In countries where commercial departure options remain available, US residents should immediately return to the country unless they’re required to remain abroad for an extended time. ”If you choose to travel internationally, your travel plans may well be severely disrupted,” he said.