How has the coronavirus changed the situation on the US-Mexico border?

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The new coronavirus has disrupted traditional lifestyles and brought the global economy to a halt.

The US-Mexico border, through which some $ 1.4 billion worth of goods pass daily, was only partially affected, given its importance to the economies of both countries.

FILE - In this file photo from November 7, 2019, the first dyke border wall panels are seen on a construction site along the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna, Texas.

FILE – In this file photo from November 7, 2019, the first dyke border wall panels are seen on a construction site along the U.S.-Mexico border in Donna, Texas.
(AP)

Immigration, however, is another matter. Last month, the Trump administration cut non-essential travel and decided to turn back all immigrants trying to claim asylum in the U.S. Federal government stopped receiving applications and suspended immigration hearings for the duration of the crisis.

“The United States and Mexico have agreed to restrict non-essential travel across our shared border,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said at a White House media briefing with other senior officials.

The Trump administration also dispatched more than 500 soldiers to the southern border on Tuesday.

However, the restrictions left enough leeway for commercial goods to still be transported to the United States on work permits. Mexicans were also exempt.

Traffic has slowed enough to affect both sides of the border economy. In Tijuana, the sales manager of a small industrial business told The Economist that his business “had to close.”

Mexico has been criticized for falling behind other countries in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic. It was not until Monday that the government extended the ban on non-essential government work to other business sectors.

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Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador has also been criticized for his nonchalant attitude to the pandemic. In recent weeks, he has continued to travel the country, embrace his supporters and encourage families to visit restaurants as it “strengthens the economy.”

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The country reported 1,378 cases of coronavirus and 37 deaths on Thursday, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Adam Shaw and The Associated Press of Fox News contributed to this report.

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