The US government announced on Tuesday, May 19, that the existing ban on non-essential travel through the Mexican and Canadian land borders has been extended until Monday, June 22, due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic. Previously the measure was set to expire on Wednesday, May 20. The ban does not apply to air travel.
Multiple demonstrations have been held in states across the US since mid-April to denounce stay-at-home orders and other measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Since April 19, rallies have been held in the states of Oregon, Michigan, Washington, Colorado, Arizona, and Vermont. Attendance at the demonstrations varies, with hundreds of people participating at times. Generally the protests are held at the state capitols and usually remain peaceful; however, minor scuffles between demonstrators and police officers have been reported at some rallies. Similar rallies are likely to be held across the US over the near term as COVID-19 restrictions remain in place. A heightened police presence and localized disruptions are anticipated around all associated protests.
President Donald Trump announced on April 30 that he would not be extending the US government's federal guidelines on social distancing in relation to COVID-19, which were due to expire on Friday, May 1. Vice President Mike Pence added that it would now be in the hands of state governors to gradually ease restrictions in place and to begin to reopen the economy.
As of May 19, authorities have confirmed 1,528,568 cases of COVID-19 in the country and 91,921 associated deaths. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected over the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.
Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and trouble breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.
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