Mexico screens border crossers; Efforts taken to limit spread of virus

Matamoros Mayor Mario Alberto López Hernández announced Thursday that there are new restrictions for residents and citizens of the United States who are trying to cross the border to Matamoros by land.

In an official statement posted on the official website of Matamoros government, the mayor said it is very important to implement new measures at the port of entry to combat the coronavirus.

“It is important that in Mexico, and particularly at this border, we implement restrictive measures because United States residents and citizens are crossing every day to Matamoros to shop, go visit the doctor and their family and that means a great risk for the families of Matamoros,” López Hernández said in Spanish.

López Hernández said federal and state authorities will implement conditioning actions to enter Matamoros, taking into consideration that Texas is the fourth state in the United States with the most coronavirus suspected cases, the statement reads.

“A measure that we can take is that everyone who crosses to Matamoros will undergo a health screening; this would allow that if the person has any symptoms of the virus, right there, he or she can be sent back to Texas.”

In the statement, López Hernández added that very respectfully he asked Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez to discourage Brownsville residents from crossing to Matamoros.

“It is very important that we implement similar measures to the ones the United States implemented to its visitors; Matamoros families stopped going to the neighbor city. We think that families from Texas should also stop coming to this border, as a preventive measure to guarantee the health of the residents from both cities,” López Hernández said.

During an online press conference on Wednesday, Mendez said he had a meeting this week with the mayor of Matamoros where López Hernández expressed his concerns about Brownsville residents crossing to Matamoros.

“Our history tells us that we move freely from Brownsville to Matamoros and everyday activities, including doctor’s appointments, grocery shopping and other daily activities,” Mendez said in a statement.

“At this point, I want to discourage Brownsville residents from going to Matamoros for medical screenings or treatment. The mayor of Matamoros also agrees and wanted me to express his concerns. He stated that he is receiving reports that many residents are crossing the border with medical issues including potential flu symptoms. However, there is no testing being done by the City of Matamoros or its private clinics and hospitals. All testing is being administered by the State of Tamaulipas. If your symptoms track those in line with COVID-19, please get tested in Brownsville,” Mendez said.