The U.S.-Mexico border will be closed to nonessential travel to further help stem the spread of the novel coronavirus, President Donald Trump announced Friday.
"As we did with Canada, we're also working with Mexico to implement new rules at our ports of entry to suspend non-essential travel," Trump said. "These new rules and procedures will not impede lawful trade and commerce." Trump said that Mexico is also suspending air travel from Europe.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the U.S. has taken "two important steps" this week to curb the spread of the virus. He noted the border closure with Canada, announced Wednesday, would go into effect at midnight. He said the closure would be reviewed after 30 days and reiterated the news Trump shared that the border with Mexico would also close.
"The United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict nonessential travel across our border," Pompeo said.
Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said that essential travel includes medical purposes, to attend educational institutions, for emergency response/public health purposes and lawful cross-border trade.
"Essential activities will not be impacted. We will continue to maintain a strong and secure economic supply chain across our borders... As the secretary said, the agreements with both Canada and Mexico will go into effect on Saturday, March 21st," he said.
"Tonight, at midnight, we will execute the CDC order by immediately returning individuals arriving without documentation to Canada, Mexico, as well as a number of other countries, without delay," Wolf added.
The State Department on Thursday issued a new travel alert urging Americans not to go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already abroad unless they plan to remain overseas.