SAN DIEGO (KGTV) - Hundreds of troops will head to the southern border "very soon" to stop the spread of coronavirus, according to Department of Defense officials.
President Trump recently said he is concerned about protecting the health of the U.S., Canada, and Mexico.
Mexico declared a state of emergency Monday after their death toll spiked and they registered more than 1,300 positive COVID-19 cases. Canada has more than 11,200 cases and 131 deaths.
A press call with the Pentagon Wednesday revealed Secretary of Defense Mark Esper approved the Department of Homeland Security's request for up to 540 troops to deploy along the entire southern border.
On average 5,000 troops work with the Border Patrol on the Southwest border. That includes Marines from Camp Pendleton, according to the 1st Marine Expeditionary Force.
These troops would be in addition to those already at the border.
A Customs and Border Protection Spokesperson said the troops will not be there for military operations or for illegal immigration.
The Department of Homeland Security said it is to control the spread of coronavirus and the "threat of uncontrolled cross-border movement during a pandemic."
The Department of Defense said the troops will help with detection and monitoring activities along the border.
The border was shut down for non-essential travel March 21.