April 3, 2020 / 1:28 AM / 4 months ago

Mexican official says no plans for border closures, as death toll rises

Caution tape blocks off a pedestrian street after Mexico's government declared a health emergency on Monday and issued stricter rules to curb the spread of the coronavirus disease (COVID-19), in Mexico City, Mexico April 1, 2020. REUTERS/Gustavo Graf

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - Mexico’s deputy health minister said on Thursday there are no plans for border closures even as the country’s death toll from the coronavirus jumped to 50 from 37 a day earlier.

“There’s no plan, because there’s no intention to use the border closure mechanism as if it were a useful mechanism for controlling the epidemic,” the deputy minister, Hugo Lopez-Gatell, said during his regular evening news conference.

“Although there’s an expectation in the general public’s view that a physical barrier can be put to epidemics, there’s no scientific, historical demonstration that these types of measures are of any use.”

However, Lopez-Gatell reiterated earlier calls on Mexicans resident in the United States to not make non-essential visits to Mexico to help avoid spread of the coronavirus. So far, the Health Ministry has reported 1,510 cases, up by 132 a day earlier.

Reporting by Stefanie Eschenbacher and Diego Ore; Editing by Sandra Maler and Leslie Adler

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