CIUDAD VICTORIA, Mexico - Officials in a Mexican border city are tightening checks on travelers coming from Texas, saying they fear U.S. visitors may be helping feed a spike in COVID-19 cases.
Municipal and state officials in Matamoros, together with Mexico's National Guard began setting up checkpoints Saturday at the three border crossings to question U.S. citizens and residents coming from Brownsville, Texas.
City official Jorge Mora Solaldine said only one person will be allowed per vehicle and people will have to prove they have essential business, such as work or medical care.
At least 180 people were turned back at a single point on Saturday, according to city officials.
Mexico and the U.S. announced in March that they were closing the border to non-essential business, but enforcement has been spotty in some places and there were few if any checks on those coming into Matamoros. Commercial traffic, critical to the economy on both sides of the border, has continued on a large scale.
The municipality of Matamoros, with a population of roughly 500,000, has reported 323 confirmed infections of the new coronavirus and 29 deaths, while Cameron County on the other side of the border has recorded about 700 cases and 32 deaths among its roughly 420,000 people.