As coronavirus cases surge across the U.S., one Mexican state is closing itself off from its northern neighbor out of concern for safety, outlets report.
Officials in Sonora, Mexico moved quickly to slam the border shut before the start of the July Fourth weekend, traditionally a peak tourism time as Americans flock south to celebrate, the Arizona Daily Star reported.
Officials have not announced a reopening date.
Sonora is in a difficult position. It’s struggling to control the pandemic within its own borders, and just above is Arizona, one of the most afflicted states in the U.S..
“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,” Senora Gov. Claudia Pavlovich said in a statement, according to the Daily Star.
Arizona has seen more than 90,000 infections and nearly 1,800 deaths as of Friday, state data shows. It hit a one-day record on Wednesday with 4,878 new COVID-19 cases.
In Sonora, there have been 8,976 confirmed cases and 909 deaths as of Wednesday, The Arizona Republic reported. Hospitals are filling up and testing is limited.
Sonora’s health minister led the petition to the federal government in Mexico City, pleading for tightened border restrictions, according to the outlet.
“It’s so important to implement the necessary measures to protect the health of Sonorans. And one of them, at this moment, has to be reducing the border crossings from the United States towards Mexico,” Clausen said Tuesday, according to The Arizona Republic.
While officials have been pointing to Arizona in particular, their concerns extend to all U.S. travelers regardless of their point of origin, KYMA reported. Checkpoints at all four Sonoran border crossings will turn away anyone not traveling on essential business.
Additionally, Pavlovich said she will ban all U.S. travelers from Sonora’s beaches, the station reported.