Mexico Wants to Close Border with US to Stop Coronavirus Spread
'The United States would bring it here,' top official declares
Mexico is calling for its northern border with the United States to be closed off to stop Americans from spreading coronavirus into their country.
Currently, there are over 2,000 cases of COVID-19 infection in the U.S., with over 40 deaths so far, as it continues to spread rapidly.
In Mexico, however, only 16 cases have been confirmed and no deaths.
Speaking during a press conference Friday, Mexican Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said: "Mexico wouldn't bring the virus to the United States, rather the United States would bring it here.
"The possible flow of coronavirus would come from the north to the south.
"If it were technically necessary, we would consider mechanisms of restriction or stronger surveillance," he said.
Unlike several Latin American countries, Mexico has yet to take measures such as closing schools or banning entry to people coming from places with high numbers of coronavirus cases, according to the Daily Mail.
However, the private Tecnologico de Monterrey university said on Thursday it would suspend academics and classes from next week until further notice, while Mexico's National Autonomous University (UNAM) said it would tighten preventative measures to prevent the spread of the virus.
On Friday, President Donald Trump tweeted: "To this point, and because we have had a very strong border policy, we have had 40 deaths related to CoronaVirus.
"If we had weak or open borders, that number would be many times higher!"
Both he and Vice President Mike Pence have blamed the spread of the virus first on China, then on Europe which has now become the "epicenter" of the outbreak.
Trump has suspended all travel from Europe to the US on Friday night at midnight.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, who has advised six presidents on HIV/AIDS and many other domestic and global health issues, praised Trump's handling of the crisis during a Friday interview.
The United States has a head start on containing the coronavirus because of President Trump's unprecedented travel restrictions, Dr. Fauci says.
"Clearly, early on, we made a travel ban with regard to China -- that was a very smart move right there," Fauci said.
"Because what that did was prevent a major influx from China," he explained.
On Thursday, Trump said Americans who were overseas would be tested before they got on their planes and that they would not be allowed to board them if they tested positive for the virus.
On Friday, Trump announced a press conference after reports out of Brazil said their president, Jair Bolsonaro, had tested positive for coronavirus.
One of the major newspapers in Rio de Janeiro, Journal O Dia, noted The Guardian's Tom Phillips, reported the news of Bolsonaro's positive test.
64-year-old Bolsonaro, aka "Tropical Trump," was checked for the disease after his aide Fabio Wajngarten tested positive for it.
But a second test that came back on Friday showed the president tested negative, according to a statement on Bolsonaro's official Facebook page, which is adding to the questions and confusion.