Mexico on Tuesday proposed a plan to the United States to gradually reopen their land border, which has been closed to non-essential traffic since March 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The strategy is based on a mass vaccination campaign on the Mexican side of the frontier whose aim is to “reach normality as soon as possible,” Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Twitter.
He said he had outlined the plan to US Homeland Security Secretary Alejandro Mayorkas, who arrived in Mexico City late Monday for talks.
Mayorkas told the Mexican authorities that “facilitating trade, tourism and travel is his priority,” Ebrard said.
Mexico plans to vaccinate adults along the border using 1.35 million Johnson & Johnson shots donated by the United States that arrived on Tuesday.
Once that is achieved, “there would no longer be an argument to maintain the restrictions on health grounds,” Ebrard told reporters before his talks with Mayorkas.
“It’s a good sign that he’s coming to Mexico to hear the country’s proposals and what impact the border closure has had on the entire region,” Ebrard said.
With 600,000 Covid-19 deaths, the United States has by far the world’s highest pandemic death toll, but it also organized one of the most effective vaccine roll-outs.
More than half the US population has received at least one coronavirus vaccine dose.
Mexico’s official pandemic death toll of around 230,000 is the world’s fourth highest.
About 29 percent of its adults have had at least one Covid-19 vaccine shot and infections and deaths have been trending lower for several months.