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Highlights from today’s Coronavirus Task Force and restricting travel on southern border

The U.S. and Mexico have agreed to restrict all non-essential travel across the border, President Trump announced during a press conference Friday morning.

The U.S. has worked closely with both the northern and southern borders to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus. The agreement with Canada, which will go into effect at midnight tonight, will also restrict all non-essential travel to be reevaluated after 30 days. Nonessential-travel will not apply to lawful trade and commerce or essential commercial activities, said Secretary Chad Wolf. 

Under Section 362 of the Public Health Service Act, entry of certain persons will be suspended into the U.S. from Mexico and Canada. This includes “persons coming from Mexico and Canada who are seeking into the country illegally and normally are held in a congregate setting like a Custom and Border Protection,” said Secretary Alex Azar. The DHS has already processed an overwhelming number of arrivals, including more than 21,000 at the northern border and 151,000 at the southern border. 

Under the Defense Production Act, the president has moved the National Response Coordination Center to Level 1 Status. According to FEMA’s website, a Level 1 status includes incidents that “due to its severity, size, location, actual or potential impact on public health, welfare, and infrastructure, … requires an extreme amount of direct Federal assistance.” FEMA’s efforts will be “locally executed, state managed, and federally supported,” according to Vice President Mike Pence. 

President Trump issued an update on efforts to minimize impact on students, temporarily waiving all federally held interest on student loans. In addition, the Department of Education will not enforce standardized testing requirements. 

Based on reports coming from Italy, mortality in males is almost double that of females in every age group. Individuals, age 20 and below, continue to suffer from severe symptoms from coronavirus, though most have recovered, according to Dr. Deborah Brix, the White House coronavirus task force coordinator. 

The Treasury Department has moved tax day from April 15 to July 15, with no interest or penalties.


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