Trump hinted at shutting the US border with Mexico over coronavirus but backtracked 10 minutes later

Insider (March 1st, 2020).- President Donald Trump hinted that the US was considering shutting its southern border with Mexico, due to the novel coronavirus.

Mexico has three cases of the coronavirus; the US confirmed its first fatality on Saturday.

Trump told reporters at a press conference on Saturday the administration was “looking at” the southern border. He backtracked 10 minutes later.

But Reuters reported Saturday that the administration was considering restrictions, citing Department of Homeland Security officials.

Trump’s administration is weighing closing the US border with Mexico as an apparent caution against the novel coronavirus, the president said on Saturday.

Asked directly about the southern border, Trump told journalists during a press conference: “Yes, we are thinking about the southern border… We are looking at that very strongly.”

Pressed by reporters, Trump appeared to backtrack 10 minutes later: “We have a great relationship, as you know, with Mexico… we’re thinking about all borders. But that is not a border, as it pertains to what we’re talking about here, this is not a border that seems to be much of a problem right now.”

Mexico said on Friday it had detected three cases of the coronavirus in men who had recently travelled to Italy. After Brazil, this makes it the second Latin American country to see cases of the infection.

At least 69 Americans have been diagnosed with the virus, the majority of whom are repatriated citizens from the Diamond Princess cruise ship. The US confirmed its first death on Saturday from coronavirus infection, a man in his 50s in the state of Washington. The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention says the risk to Americans from the virus remains low.

Despite Trump’s apparently contradictory remarks, Reuters reported on Saturday that the administration is indeed weighing up a border closure. Two Department of Homeland Security officials reportedly told the outlet they had been told to prepare a range of responses to the outbreak. That includes having preliminary discussions about border closures.

Source: Insider

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