On Friday, August 14, the Ministry of Foreign Relations announced that Mexico and the US had mutually agreed to extend restrictions on non-essential travel across the land border between the two countries until September 21. The border has been closed for four months due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and the previous extension had been until Friday, August 21, but it will now remain closed for a further 30 days. Previous exemptions to the border restrictions remain in place, including for those working in the agriculture sector and in educational institutions, those receiving medical treatment, to support emergency work as a public official, for cross border trade purposes, and for military and diplomatic personnel carrying out operations. Citizens and residents of the US and Mexico are also permitted to return to their respective countries. Entry into Mexico via other means remains relatively unrestricted, although passengers must complete a health questionnaire upon arrival and may be screened for symptoms.
The Mexican government has introduced a traffic light system to manage the easing of restrictions based on COVID-19 infection rates and are determined by state authorities. This means restrictions can vary from location to location and travelers are advised to check local governments' websites for detailed information on measures in place in specific areas.
As of Sunday, August 16, health authorities have confirmed 511,369 COVID-19 cases with 55,908 associated deaths in the country. Further spread of the virus is expected in 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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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