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Thursday, April 9, 2020

Coronavirus: US, Canada, Mexico Suspend Most Border Traffic

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Canadian border checkpoint at Landsdowne, Ontario, March 19

Image copyright
Reuters

Legend

Many Canada-US border checkpoints close

The United States has suspended all non-essential traffic across its borders with Mexico and Canada as it struggles to control the coronavirus epidemic.

The restrictions will come into effect on Saturday midnight but will not affect trade, said Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

Meanwhile, Illinois has joined California to order residents to stay at home, while New York State has closed non-essential businesses.

About one in five Americans will soon be subject to a “home stay” order.

The virus has killed nearly 230 people in the United States and infected more than 18,500 people.

Worldwide, more than 270,000 patients have tested positive for respiratory disease and more than 11,000 have died.

As the number of cases and the number of deaths worldwide continued to increase, many countries and regions took further action on Friday, including:

  • Spain: Government Warns Army Patrols Will Catch People Outside Without Reason
  • Bavaria: The second most populous state in Germany has become the first state to impose a foreclosure
  • France: Police say patrols at Paris train stations have been stepped up to prevent people from going on weekend trips
  • Indonesia: A state of emergency will be in effect in the capital Jakarta from Monday – bars, cinemas and many other businesses will be closed.

Why has the United States restricted border traffic?

President Donald Trump said Friday: “Normally, these massive flows [of immigrants] place a heavy burden on our health care system, but during a global pandemic they threaten to create a perfect storm that would spread the infection to our border officials, migrants and the general public. “

Hours after his speech, the White House announced that a staff member in Vice President Mike Pence’s office had tested positive for coronavirus, although a spokesperson said the anonymous patient had not been in close contact with Mr. Pence or Mr. Trump.

Earlier this week, President Trump announced that the border with Canada would be closed to non-essential traffic “by mutual consent”.

Media playback is not supported on your device

Media captionStudents on Spring Break Defy Covid-19 Warnings

At the press conference on Friday, Pompeo said the restrictions would take effect on Saturday and would also apply in Mexico. They must be in place for at least 30 days.

US citizens “should arrange an immediate return” unless they plan to stay abroad for a period of time, said Pompeo.

Interim Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said the United States “is working with our Canadian and Mexican partners”.

He added: “We want to make sure that freight continues, trade continues, health workers continue to be able to cross this border. But tourism, some recreational activities and other things must stop during this crisis.”

Also on Friday, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that asylum seekers entering the country on foot from the United States would be turned back as part of the border closure.


Life goes on

By Sophie Long, BBC News, Los Angeles

These are perhaps the most restrictive measures to put in place in modern California history, but in Los Angeles, life goes on and the streets are far from empty.

In a city famous for its blocked rush hour traffic, cars move more freely in front of the palm trees on Sunset Boulevard. In Hollywood, cyclists are always outpacing joggers and families are still out for a walk. But these could all be considered essential excursions.

People have been told that those who work in critical sectors should always go to work. Buses are still running and grocery stores, pharmacies and banks are still open.

But many people stay at home and their friends and neighbors keep their distance. Restaurants and bars closed their doors a few days ago, but now all gatherings outside the house have been banned and there is no indication when the restrictions will be lifted.

Image copyright
Getty Images

Legend

Like a scene from a disaster movie, a highway in Los Angeles is almost empty as the lock bites

Image copyright
Getty Images

Legend

Venice Beach in Los Angeles on the first day of lockdown


What actions are states taking?

New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has ordered all “non-essential workers” to stay at home starting Sunday evening.

Public gatherings are also limited across the state. The measures come as confirmed cases of coronavirus in New York have reached 7,000 – the highest in the United States.

“These provisions will be enforced,” Cuomo told reporters. “This is not useful advice.”

New York and neighboring states of New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania also issued a joint order Friday to close all “personal care” businesses, such as hair and nail salons and piercing salons. and tattoo.

All outdoor team sports such as basketball games are also prohibited by the measures, which take effect on Sunday evening.

Media playback is not supported on your device

Media captionLaura Foster of the BBC explains how to recognize the symptoms of coronavirus.

The announcement comes after California Governor Gavin Newsom issued a similar order inviting all residents to stay at home.

He estimated that more than half of the 40 million people in his state would have contracted Covid-19 in the next two months.

Illinois also ordered all residents inside, with a few exceptions, to buy food and medicine or to exercise.

Nevada announced Tuesday its own ban on non-core businesses. President Trump has so far ruled out any nationwide lockdown.

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