In his Presidential campaign, Donald Trump famously stated he would “build a great wall” along the United States-Mexico border, in order to keep Mexicans wishing to migrate from entering the country.
Now with the recent surge of COVID-19 cases in the United States, towns in northern Mexico are asking to restrict cross-border movement and going as far to use their own vehicles to block tourists from the United States from entering the country.
In an ironic turn of events, Mexicans are attempting to stop Americans from entering bordering towns amid fears of the spread of COVID-19.
Citizens of towns in Sonoyta, bordering Arizona, took matters into their own hands by using their vehicles to block the road entering Puerto Penasco, a popular tourist destination for Americans.
In a statement, Sonoyta mayor Jose Ramos said, “We invite US tourists not to visit Mexico. We agreed on this to safeguard the health of our community in the fact of an accelerated rate of Covid-19 contagion in the neighbouring state of Arizona.”
There have been 109,000 confirmed Covid-19 cases in Arizona alone, with new daily cases climbing close to 4,000.
In preparation for the July 4th weekend, the US Embassy in Mexico City released a statement asking for American citizens to refrain from entering Mexico.
“The most patriotic thing you can do for you and your family is to stay home, practice social distancing, and not risk spreading the coronavirus by crossing borders unnecessarily,” the statement described.
“Mexican border and local authorities are conducting enforcement actions to discourage non-essential travel in some areas.”
The United States’ lack of precaution against the virus and inability to act to prevent growing cases has been well documented however, Trump has sought to blame Mexico for the crisis.
In a rally at Phoenix, Arizona, Trump referenced the city of Tijuana as a cause for the growth in the virus saying, “Because right next to San Diego there’s a wonderful town in Mexico, you know the town, I won’t mention the name, but they’re heavily infected with COVID.”
Like the United States, Mexico has failed to provide an adequate widespread testing program, leading to the belief that the scale of the pandemic is underreported.
A lack of border control between Mexico and the United States has seemingly hindered the containment of the virus, despite warnings from Sonora’s health secretary, Enrique Clausen.
Clausen said earlier this month, “It’s so important to implement the necessary measures to protect the health of Sonorans. And one of them at this time has to be reducing the border crossings form the United States to Mexico.”
Mexicans in bordering towns can’t be blamed for attempting to keep American tourists out amid the current pandemic climate.