U.S., Mexico agree to close border to non-essential travel

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A Caltrans freeway sign reads: "Wash your hands, Stay healthy, Avoid COVID-19" in the San Fernando Valley section of Los Angeles. California Gov. Gavin Newsom is calling for all bars, wineries, nightclubs and brewpubs to close in the nation's most populous state. Also Sunday, he urged seniors and people with chronic health conditions to isolate themselves at home in a bid to contain the spread of the coronavirus. (AP Photo/John Antczak)

SAN DIEGO (CNS) – The United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict “non-essential travel” at the U.S.-Mexico border starting Saturday in order to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus, White House officials announced today.

The agreement, which will go into effect at midnight Friday, does not apply to transportation of commercial goods and other “lawful trade and commerce,” President Donald Trump said.

“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.

The temporary closure applies mainly to recreational travel across the border. It follows the agreement between the U.S. and Canada to close the northern border to non-essential travel, which was announced Wednesday. The restrictions will be reviewed after 30 days, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said.

The State Department also issued a travel alert on Thursday urging Americans not to travel abroad and to return to the U.S. unless they are prepared to remain overseas for an extended period.