Coronavirus pandemic prompts US, Mexico to restrict non-essential border travel, Trump administration says

The announcements follows unprecedented steps by the White House to mitigate the spread of the virus

The U.S. and Mexico will restrict all non-essential travel across their border for at least 30 days, the Trump administration announced Friday.

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"All international travel from U.S. citizens should be avoided," Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday during a White House press briefing. "U.S. citizens, who reside in the United States, should arrange for immediate return to the United States, unless they're prepared to remain abroad for an extended period of time."

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Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said that essential travel includes medical purposes, educational institutions reasons, emergency response and public health purposes, as well as cross-border trade.

"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," he said.

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The announcement follows a new travel alert issued on Thursday by the State Department urging Americans to not go abroad under any circumstances and to return home if they are already overseas. The Level 4 travel advisory for all international travels is the most severe warning issued by the department.

There are 164 confirmed coronavirus cases currently in Mexico and 14,651 in the U.S, according to a database published by Johns Hopkins University.

Beginning Friday at midnight, the border between the U.S. and Canada will also shut to non-essential travel for 30 days.

"We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected," Trump tweeted Wednesday.

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