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To slow COVID-19, Trump administration closes southern border to non-essential travel

A woman wearing a protective mask carries her baby as she walks towards El Paso on the international border bridge Paso del Norte. The federal government will restrict land crossings between the U.S. and Mexico beginning at midnight Friday. REUTERS/Jose Luis Gonzalez

The country’s southern border will close to all non-essential travel and trade in an effort to combat the spread of the COVID-19 virus, the Trump administration announced Friday morning.

The policy takes effect at midnight Friday.

“Both our countries know the importance of working together to limit the spread of the virus and ensure the commerce that support our economy continues to keep flowing,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a morning press conference in Washington D.C.

The policy was a binational effort, Pompeo said, and the policy will be reviewed in 30 days.

Acting Department of Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf said essential travel includes crossing the border for medical or educational travel, emergency response and “lawful cross-border trade.”

The United States and Canada agreed to the same measures earlier this week.

This is a developing story and will be updated.