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TIJUANA, Mexico, April 27 (Reuters) - Many Mexicans crossing into the United States on Monday at one of the busiest crossings on the border shunned advice to wear surgical face mask to curb the spread of a deadly new flu.
Most Mexican immigration officials at the Tijuana-San Diego crossing were using masks and surgical gloves, but Mexicans crossing by car and foot seemed unconcerned by the influenza scare and only a handful wore masks.
"I don't think anything will happen to me, it's old people and children we need to look after," said Gloria, a 35-year-old woman waiting to cross by car into California who declined to give her last name.
Many of the up to 149 people who have died of the new virus in Mexico have actually been aged between 25 and 45, a worrying sign as pandemics tend to target healthy young adults.
The World Health Organization raised its pandemic alert level to phase 4 over the flu virus as infections of the new strain spread to the United States, Canada and Europe.
U.S. Border and Customs Protection agents checking vehicles were equipped with masks and were checking travelers for symptoms. "We are isolating travelers with symptoms, offering them masks and alerting health authorities," said a customs spokesman at the San Ysidro crossing into California.
There are currently no travel restrictions between the United States and Mexico, the U.S. consulate in the northern city of Monterrey said on Monday, although Secretary of State Hillary Clinton urged caution in traveling to Mexico.
Many residents of Mexico's densely populated capital, Mexico City, spent the weekend hunkered at home or went out wearing face masks distributed by soldiers.
In the northern business city of Monterrey, hundreds of people lined up at pharmacies to buy packs of face masks after initially playing down the threat of contagion from other parts of Mexico. (Reporting by Lizbeth Diaz in Tijuana, Alejandro Bringas in Ciudad Juarez and Robin Emmott in Monterrey; Editing by Cynthia Osterman).
Originally posted by tothetenthpower
I for one think that closing the border would make things worse. The panic that would arise, the people who would try to get past the barricades and out of the country would be insane.
That would make infected people and non infected people show up in large numbers at the same places spreading the infection further. Then you have food shortages and hospitals become over run with patients.
It's just a bad idea all together this early in such situations.
MEXICO CITY - Two weeks after the first known swine flu death, Mexico still hasn't given medicine to the families of the dead. It hasn't determined where the outbreak began or how it spread. And while the government urges anyone who feels sick to go to hospitals, feverish people complain ambulance workers are scared to pick them up.