Nogales. More than half a million fellow residents of the United States have crossed the border from Sonora into Mexican territory in recent days to spend the holidays with their families; despite the recommendations issued by the Health authorities not to hold family meetings to avoid the increase in infections by the Covid-19 virus.
From December 17, vans loaded with suitcases and US merchandise began to enter the Sonora border customs, mainly through the Mexico Gate and the Dennis DeConcini Garita in Nogales, where the influx increased considerably this weekend with about 40 thousand vehicles boarded by families of around four members.
Juan Francisco Gim Nogales, administrator of the Nogales Customs, reported that so far 125,470 vehicles from the United States have crossed, mainly from California, Ohio, and Texas, bound for Nuevo León, Michoacán, and Sinaloa. He said that the influx is decreasing as Christmas approaches, so he calculates that by the last day of the year there will be a total of 200 thousand cars, an approximate half a million countrymen.
He explained that comparing these figures with previous years, the visits of nationals decreased by 30 percent in relation to 2018 when the crossing of 336 thousand 390 cars was counted and in 2019, a total of 310 thousand 722.
“Fortunately, until now we do not have a report that an infected person has crossed; In that year, logistics were carried out to have a protocol of attention to the civilian that even when the recommendation to stay at home they decided to come, where a survey is carried out on their symptoms and their temperature is taken, ”said the Customs administrator Border.
As part of the Paisano program, the Mexican Customs installed six paramedics who, accompanied by volunteers from the Technological Institute of Nogales, CeUno, the Bickers group, and the Rotary Club of this city, took the travelers’ temperature and performed a symptomatology consultation. of the Covid-19 virus. Operational that was also implemented on the borders of Agua Prieta, San Luis Río Colorado, and Naco, Sonora.
Cuauhtémoc Martínez, regional coordinator of the Secretariat of Public Security and Citizen Protection; said that the transit of more than 500,000 countrymen to Mexico, visits to families, as well as entering restaurants and convenience stores, put everyone’s health at risk. He added that they have generated problems in vehicular traffic within the city.
He has requested support from the United States Customs and Border Protection (CBP) service to expedite the entry of nationals by opening more lines of operation at the crossing to avoid crowds; as well as National Guard personnel who are in charge of relieving traffic and sanitizing public areas, he explained.
He also mentioned that an exhortation was made to entrepreneurs to strengthen the checkout area in convenience stores that allow them to attend quickly, thus avoiding long lines or longer waiting times.
On March 20, President Donald J. Trump ordered the closure of the United States border with Mexico to non-essential travel, that is, only for medical purposes or educational assistance, in order to stop the spread of the Covid-19 coronavirus However, the crossing into Mexican territory has remained open.
During the bridge for the day of the independence of the United States, some 120 thousand young people from the state of Arizona crossed into Sonora to enjoy the beaches and towns of Sonora, particularly Puerto Peñasco, without any restriction on their access to Mexico. To date, the state of Arizona has registered 477,744 infections and 8,133 deaths from Covid; while Sonora accumulates 48,320 cases and 3,738 deaths.
Long lines expected at borders crossing after the new year, so plan ahead