US and Mexican officials announced n Monday, April 20, that their shared border will be closed to non-essential travel for an additional 30 days, now until Tuesday, May 19, in efforts to control the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19). Officials stated that the decision followed close analysis of the COVID-19 case numbers in both countries. The closure applies to recreational travel, while cargo, trade, and healthcare workers will still be allowed to cross the border.
Separately, the governments of Jalisco and Michoacan states announced mandatory confinement for its residents following lack of compliance to nationwide social distancing efforts. Only individuals carrying out essential purchases and those seeking medical care will be exempt from the movement ban. Those that do not respect the confinement measures will be sanctioned. Additionally, individuals in Jalisco are required to wear face masks in the public space.
On Monday, March 30, Mexico's government declared a health emergency after the number of COVID-19 cases exceeded 1000, now extended through Saturday, May 30. Existing social distancing measures and restrictions on nonessential businesses are therefore to remain in place nationwide until then. Additionally, events or meetings with more than 50 people are prohibited. The government has advised individuals over 60 years of age and those with pre-existing medical conditions to stop working and strictly observe stay-at-home measures. Schools remain suspended until Monday, June 1, while bars, clubs, zoos, saunas, gyms, and cinemas have also been ordered to close in Mexico City. In municipalities where COVID-19 infection numbers are low, however, these measures may be lifted on Sunday, May 17. Conversely, areas where there are a high number of infections, particularly inner-city areas, are likely to have increased measures introduced in the coming days.
Authorities announced on Thursday, March 26, that Jalisco and seven other states including Aguascalientes, Guanajuato, San Luis Potosi, Michoacán, Colima, and Nayarit, will block flights from areas such as California (US) with a high COVID-19 case count.
Individuals who present respiratory symptoms after arrival into Mexico should call the Ministry of Health's hotline at (800) 004-4800, or text "covid19" to 51515 if in Mexico City. Individuals who are suspected of having COVID-19 will be quarantined for two weeks.
As of Tuesday, April 21, there have been 6772 confirmed cases of COVID-19 nationwide and 712 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.