Coronavirus: US extends travel restrictions on borders with Mexico, Canada

The U.S. has extended travel restrictions at the country’s borders with Mexico and Canada in a continued effort to curb the spread of COVID-19.

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Officials with the Department of Homeland Security announced the decision Sunday in a statement posted on social media.

“To reduce the spread of (COVID-19), the United States is extending restrictions on non-essential travel at our land and ferry crossing with Canada and Mexico through July 21, while ensuring access of essential trade (and) travel,” agency officials said in the statement.

Officials in the three countries are discussing under what conditions they can ease border restrictions “safely and sustainably,” according to DHS.

The United States’ borders with Mexico and Canada have been closed since March 2020. On Friday, Canadian officials said they aimed to get more citizens fully vaccinated before considering re-opening the border, according to The Associated Press.

“We’re still seeing cases across the country, and we want to get them down,” Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said, according to the AP. “At the same time, we also know we have to hit our 75% vaccinated with the first dose and at least 20% vaccinated with the second dose before we can start loosening things up because even a fully vaccinated individual can pass on COVID-19 to someone who is not vaccinated.”

As of June 12, the last date for which data was available, about 64% of Canadians, or 24.4 million people, had received at least one COVID-19 vaccination dose, according to government figures. About 13% of the country’s residents – 4.8 million people – have so far been fully vaccinated.

Officials in Mexico have administered at least 40 million COVID-19 vaccine doses thus far, although it was not immediately clear how many of those were first doses or how many people were fully vaccinated in the country, Reuters reported.

Across the U.S., about 53% of the population, or 177 million people, had received at least one vaccine dose as of Sunday, according to the latest numbers available from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Officials said 149.6 million people have so far been fully vaccinated, amounting to about 45% of the population.

More than 33.5 million cases of COVID-19 have been reported in the U.S. since the pandemic began, while Mexico has seen 2.4 million cases and Canada has reported 1.4 million cases, according to numbers compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

The U.S. leads the world with the most coronavirus cases and the highest number of deaths. More than 601,800 people nationwide have died of the viral infection. In Mexico, officials have identified about 31,200 deaths related to COVID-19, while Canadian officials have identified 6,055 virus-related deaths, according to Johns Hopkins.

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