U.S. adds coronavirus screenings at nation’s borders, doesn’t rule out shutting down border
March 5, 2020
Arizona Republic, TUCSON — Federal officials in the United States have implemented some additional measures along the country’s borders with Canada and Mexico to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, as the nation reported its 11th death on Wednesday and at least 129 positive cases in at least 14 other states.
Top leaders at U.S. Customs and Border Protection, the agency responsible for securing the country’s land, air and sea borders, assured the public they were prepared.
They detailed some of the procedures in place to keep potentially infected travelers out, even shutting down the U.S.-Mexico border if needed.
Acting Commissioner Mark Morgan told reporters on Thursday morning they are working with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to monitor and evaluate health risks along the entire border to determine the best approach to contain the virus, known as COVID-19.
“If the health risk shifts and the CDC and the medical experts decide that there is an increased risk to the Southwest border, and CBP will be part of those discussions on what we need to do then to operationalize and reduce that risk,” he said.
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Globally, the outbreak of the new coronavirus has infected more than 95,000 people in over 79 countries, according to the World Health Organization.
They’ve resulted in more than 3,200 deaths so far. But the number continues to climb rapidly, adding a sense of urgency to containment efforts around the globe.
Customs and Border Protection said they’re working closely with the CDC to enhance health screenings for travelers from the four countries with the highest numbers of deaths and reported cases of new coronavirus: China, Iran, South Korea and Italy.
To date, CBP has referred more than 60,000 people to the CDC for additional health screenings, Morgan said.
While most of those screenings and procedures are taking place at airports, CBP said officials are following the same protocols at the country’s land crossings on the northern and southern borders. Read more.