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Trump: US could close borders to guard against coronavirus

Posted: 12:11 PM, Feb 29, 2020
Updated: 2020-02-29 17:10:23-05
San Ysidro Port of Entry open after border chaos

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) — President Donald Trump told reporters Saturday the United States may close its border crossings to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus.

Speaking from the White House, the President said his administration was "thinking about" possibly closing the country's borders to guard against the spread of COVID-19.

"We have ports of entry that we are keeping open. And we're not talking about it, we're thinking about all borders," President Trump said Saturday, when asked of the country's border with Mexico. "But right now that's 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. We hope we won't have to do that."

The President said the U.S. is banning travel to Iran in response to the outbreak in that country, and elevating travel warnings to regions of Italy and South Korea, adding that more U.S. cases are “likely.” So far there are about 60 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in the U.S.

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Canada is currently dealing with 16 coronavirus cases: eight in Ontario, seven in British Columbia, and one in Quebec. As of Saturday, Canada says the country has tested for 498 possible cases.

Canadian officials, like the U.S., say the risk to the country's residents is low.

Mexico currently has four cases of the virus, as of Saturday. Two patients in Mexico are located in Mexico City and one in the northwestern state of Sinaloa. The fourth patient was reported in the city of Torreon in the state of Coahuila: a 20-year-old woman who had recently traveled to Italy.

This week, Mexico President Andrés Manuel López Obrador said the COVID-19 virus "isn’t even equivalent to flu," adding, "“I repeat, according to the available information, it is not something terrible, fatal ... There shouldn’t be any yellow journalism, or exaggerations, to cause a mass psychosis of fear, of terror," the AP reported.

Saturday, the U.S. reported the first death in the country due to the virus in Washington state. State health officials described the victim as a man in his 50s who had underlying medical conditions.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.