(The Center Square) — President Donald Trump says the federal government will be giving renewed attention to border security, citing a likely obscured surge in coronavirus cases in countries south of the United States.
Trump said in a news conference in North Carolina Monday that he suspects the United States has more coronavirus cases than many other countries due to an inability to broadly test their citizens for COVID-19 or willful hiding of their actual case counts.
“My administration is also closely monitoring the surging caseload in Latin America, which is now the region in the world with the most active and reported infections worldwide by far,” he said. “Due to the relative scarcity of testing in Latin America, however, the region’s reported number of cases is also likely to be dramatically undercut or under-counted. I can say that’s probably true throughout the entire world. We report our cases; most of the world doesn’t. They either don’t do testing; therefore, they have very few cases even though people are sick or they just don’t report it.”
The announcement comes as Mexico reports at least 5,000 new cases daily over seven consecutive days, according to KABC in Mexico City. Reuters reports Latin America is home to 26.83 percent of worldwide cases, surpassing the U.S. and Canada. As of Monday, they estimate Latin America has 4,327,160 confirmed COVID-19 cases. The U.S. and Canada have 4,308,495 cases as of Monday.
On July 16, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security announced it would continue to restrict border crossings into Mexico and Canada to essential travel until Aug. 20. The restriction has been in place since mid-March. States in Mexico closed the border to vacationing Americans just before thousands were to head south for the Fourth of July.
Trump also announced he’s working with Texas Gov. Greg Abbott on the effort.
“Given the reality of what we just said, we’re focusing aggressively on the Texas border and countries that we think have to be watched very, very carefully because you have some very, very highly-infected countries outside of our borders,” he said.
Cole Lauterbach is a staff reporter for The Center Square.