Mexico closes border in Arizona as coronavirus cases in both countries surge

The Northern Mexican state of Sonora — which borders Arizona and a small portion of New Mexico — is toughening border restrictions this weekend as both regions experience a surge in coronavirus cases.  

In anticipation of the Fourth of July weekend, the state government announced plans to place filters at Sonora's main border cities to turn back tourists and those traveling for nonessential purposes.

“We are all going to be on alert at this time to prevent them from coming, whether they are Mexicans living in the U.S., Americans or those who want to come to spend the weekend and put a greater burden on us regarding COVID,” Sonora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich said in a statement to the Arizona Daily Star.

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Sonoran Health Secretary Enrique Clausen said on Twitter on Wednesday that he intended to seek more restrictive, temporary controls for nonessential travel. Clausen has himself tested positive for the virus.

“I will request the State Health Council to ask the Mexican Health and Foreign Affairs Council to temporarily close the United States border to Sonora to avoid and reduce COVID-19 infections,” he said.  

As it stands, the U.S. has restrictions on nonessential U.S.-bound traffic from Mexico. The restrictions Clausen is calling for in Sonora would do the same for Mexico-bound traffic from the U.S. 

A spokesperson for Arizona Gov. Doug Ducey (R) told the Star in a Thursday email that the governor’s office is also discouraging citizens to travel during the Fourth of July weekend.

Arizona is currently one of the states most affected by the virus, and Sonora has begun to see a rise in cases, as well.