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XINHUA

Despite the fact that numerous studies have clearly shown that border closings do little or nothing to slow the spread of coronavirus infections, the United States, Canada and Mexico have once again extended non-essential travel restrictions across their borders through Feb. 21 due to covid-19.

On Friday, Jan. 8, U.S. Acting Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said that “in order to continue to prevent the spread of covid, the United States, Mexico and Canada will extend the restrictions on non-essential travel through Feb. 21.”

While the United States and Mexico have offered compassionate permits for international travelers visiting immediate family members living legally within their territories, Canada has refused to provide similar exceptions.

“We are working closely with Mexico and Canada to keep essential trade and travel open, while also protecting our citizens from the virus,” Wolf tweeted.

He added that the United States would reevaluate non-essential travel restrictions again later this next month.

Mexico’s Foreign Relations Secretariat (SRE) soon echoed Wolf’s message, tweeting Monday, Jan. 11, that “due to the spread of covid-19 and due to the fact that several federal states still find themselves at orange level risk of contagion, Mexico has asked the United States to extend restrictions to non-essential land crossings on its border for another month.”

The border restrictions were first implemented on March 21.

More than 15.6 million confirmed covid cases have been reported in the United States, with over 293,000 deaths, according to the latest data from Johns Hopkins University.

Canada, meanwhile, which has imposed the most drastic travel restrictions (both Mexico and the United States have limited non-essential land travel, but allowed most air travel, while Canada has restricted all transnational travel), has witnessed a dramatic surge in covid cases.

On Tuesday, Jan. 12, Ontario declared a state of emergency after projections put Canada’s most populous province on track to have more than 20,000 new covid-19 cases per day by the middle of February, a nearly tenfold increase from the current count.

In Mexico, where covid restrictions have been lax, there have been more than 1.5 million confirmed cases and nearly 134,000 deaths.

While the United States and Mexico have offered compassionate permits for international travelers visiting immediate family members living legally within their territories, Canada has refused to provide similar exceptions.

…Jan. 13, 2021

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