Trump backs off suggestion to close southern border over coronavirus

President TrumpDonald John TrumpFederal plan to contain Washington protests employs 7,600 personnel: report GOP Rep calls on primary opponent to condemn campaign surrogate's racist video Tennessee court rules all registered voters can obtain mail-in ballots due to COVID-19 MORE on Tuesday said the administration is no longer seriously considering closing the southern border due to the spread of the coronavirus, three days after he said the idea was being weighed "very strongly." 

"We're not looking at it very strongly," Trump said during a visit to the National Institutes of Health in Maryland.

"I don’t think we’ve seen any great evidence that that area's a problem at this moment," he added.

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The comments mark a significant reversal from Saturday, when Trump suggested closing the southern border was on the table.

"We have received a lot of power on the southern border over the last couple years from the courts, but we are looking at that very strongly," he said during a news conference.

Mexico last week confirmed its first two cases of the coronavirus, which has spread to numerous countries.

There are 60 confirmed cases in the U.S., not including Americans repatriated from China or the Diamond Princess cruise ship. Officials in Washington state have reported nine deaths from the virus, and new cases are being reported on a near-daily basis.

Trump and other officials have stressed that the risk for most Americans of contracting the coronavirus remains low. The president said earlier Tuesday that he was not considering restricting domestic travel because of the spread of the disease.