As Arizona cases spike, a neighboring Mexican state tries to shut out Americans

But this week-end, as Arizona reels beneath the weight of the coronavirus, it is Mexico that is trying to keep Americans from heading south.

Government officials in Sonora, the Mexican state that borders Arizona, have create additional checkpoints across the border over the holiday weekend to prevent unauthorized travel and conduct health checks on people crossing from the united states.

In a statement, Sonoran Governor Claudia Pavlovich Arellano said the target is to avoid “people [living in the US] looking to come spend the weekend and certainly will leave us with a larger burden of Covid.”

The US and Mexico agreed to close their shared border in March to all non-essential activity. It will remain closed through at the least late July.

Crossings deemed essential, for things like commerce or medical appointments, remain permitted.

But Mexican President Andrés Manuel López Obrador told reporters Friday there has been numerous cases recently of men and women crossing from Arizona to Sonora for non-essential reasons. That is the reason why he agreed to deploy federal resources to help staff the newest checkpoints.

“The Sonora government is guarding the border so the established rules are followed, but [the rules] aren’t new,” he said during his Friday morning press briefing.

Sonoran government officials have reason to be concerned about herpes spreading from Arizona. The state has witnessed a spike in coronavirus cases recently, posting record high increases within the last few week, as total case numbers near 100,000. And ICU units in hospitals over the state are nearing capacity.

Sonoran health officials have reported just over 8,000 cases in the state, but that number has a lot more than doubled within the last few month as Mexico’s own epidemic continues to worsen.

In border communities over the US and Mexico, traveling back and forth over the border is common.

There is alarm in Sonora that a major US holiday, when families travel for gatherings and cookouts, could escalate the outbreak in northern Mexico.

Checkpoints will be located at ports of entry and along nearby roads and highways. Popular tourist areas may also be monitored.

“We already know which places…the Americans normally visit,” Gov. Pavlovich said.

Immigration officials, members of the Mexican National Guard and state police will deploy to staff the checkpoints, which will explain to you Sunday, July 5, the Mexican consulate in Tucson announced in a statement.