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Officials Take Temperatures Of Southbound Border Crossers In Nogales, Sonora

Border Wait Nogales
Murphy Woodhouse/KJZZ
Motorists wait to cross at the Dennis DeConcini Port of Entry in Nogales, Sonora, in February 2019. Since the U.S. implemented restrictions at the border on March, 20, 2020, fewer people have been crossing.

On Wednesday, protesters in neighboring Nogales, Sonora, blocked southbound lanes at the Deconcini Port of Entry to call on the government to implement stronger restrictions at the border to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. Now they say they’ve gotten their way.

"It's good that because of the border closure, they're acting now to prevent more people entering that could bring coronavirus, or that have symptoms of coronavirus," said protest organizer Juan Luis Hernandez.

Local customs administrators promised to immediately start training staff and implementing checks on southbound travelers, he said. And on Thursday pedestrians and motorists entering Nogales were already having their temperatures taken. Hernandez didn’t know if anyone had been turned back.

But he said he is already traveling to other Sonoran border cities to protest, and hopes measures to stop to flow of coronavirus into Mexico will be implemented there, too.

The U.S. closed the border with Mexico to all "non-essential" travel on Friday, March 20. But Mexico has not yet broadly implemented similar travel restrictions for southbound travelers.

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Kendal Blust was a senior field correspondent at KJZZ from 2018 to 2023.