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Texas college students who tested positive for coronavirus visited Mexico for spring break a week later than reported, airline claims

FOX NEWS: A group of Texas college students who visited Mexico for spring break, and later tested positive for COVID-19, were at a Mexican beach resort a week later than the tourism board reported, according to Mexican airline Viva Aerobus.

Students from the University of Texas at Austin traveled to Los Cabos last month via Viva Aerobus on March 14 and returned March 19, the airline reported to Reuters. The Los Cabos tourism board reportedly had said the students left Mexico on March 11.

At least 49 students from the group of 211 have tested positive for coronavirus, according to the university, via Reuters. Some of them stayed at Pueblo Bonito Los Cabos hotel during the trip.

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Cities along US-Mexico border in for ‘bumpy ride,’ economists

FREIGHT WAVES: A panel of business and medical experts discussing Texas and Mexico said the border region is in the “early days” of the pandemic and facing a “bumpy ride” ahead.

Economic indicators include lower cross-border trade, layoffs, rising unemployment and shutdowns of borderland manufacturing plants, panelists said Friday during an online forum hosted by the Center for Inter-American Border Studies at the University of Texas at El Paso.

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Pandemic, border crackdown hamper Catholics’ aid to migrants

AUSTIN AMERICAN-STATESMAN: For years, Catholic-led, U-S.-based nonprofits have been at the forefront of efforts to support migrants and asylum-seekers along the Mexican border. Tough new border policies, coupled with the COVID-19 pandemic, have drastically changed their work, much of which now takes place in Mexico.

The once heavy flow of undocumented border-crossers has dwindled as the Trump administration enforces a new virus-related ban on top of its Migration Protection Protocols that already had forced thousands of asylum-seekers to wait in Mexico.

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Canada and Mexico define the US in one word – ‘Trump’ v ‘Money’

BBC NEWS: The most common words Canadians think of to describe the US have to do with the White House, while Mexicans think of work, migration or money, according to a new survey.

Respondents from both countries also conjured up often negative adjectives for the US, according to the Pew Research Center study.

Majorities in each countries did not trust President Donald Trump to lead.

Frequently cited words included “chaos”, “bully” and “bad”.

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US Customs and Border Protection confirms 160 COVID-19 cases among officers, agents

USA TODAY: The federal agency responsible for securing U.S. land, air and sea borders disclosed Monday that 160 of its employees, including customs officers and border agents, have tested positive for COVID-19, the illness caused by the new coronavirus.

U.S. Customs and Border Protection published the information on its website dedicated to the coronavirus pandemic. It breaks down the cases by location.

The majority of the COVID-19 cases among CBP employees, 113, are at the country’s coastal cities, especially in the New York City metro area, the current epicenter of the epidemic in the U.S.

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Coronavirus in Mexico: Juárez reaches 10 confirmed COVID-19 cases

EL PASO TIMES: The number of confirmed cases of COVID-19 is starting to rapidly increase in the state of Chihuahua, public health officials said Sunday.

Juárez has 10 confirmed cases, part of a total of 17 cases in Chihuahua state, Dr. Arturo Valenzuela, health director for the state’s northern region, said in a Sunday morning video briefing.

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Coronavirus Is Killing Lopez Obrador’s Big Plans for Mexico

BLOOMBERG NEWS: Covid-19 has come to Mexico. Factories are shut, planes grounded, beaches empty. Some 2,000 are now infected and dozens dead; cases have been doubling every few days. 

For weeks, President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador blithely ignored the lessons coming out of Italy, Spain and elsewhere. He held rallies, hugged supporters, kissed children and made fun of safety recommendations.

When the federal government did finally announce social distancing measures to begin on March 23, the president wasn’t the one who faced the nation. Instead he sent a Health Ministry undersecretary to urge citizens to stay home. Later the Foreign Minister, not the president, declared a national emergency.

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The 12 Remaining Mexican Billionaires

FORBES: ompounded by the crippling economic effects of the coronavirus pandemic in February and March, an already-tumultuous year for Latin America’s second-largest economy erased billions from the fortunes of Mexico’s richest citizens–with most of the fallout happening in mere weeks.

In late February, while Mexico’s reported coronavirus cases were still hovering in the single digits, the nation’s billionaires were faring well, despite two quarters of economic contraction; the overwhelming majority were enjoying lofty gains thanks mostly to soaring share prices, and combined they were worth $125 billion. Fast forward two weeks, and all but one of the nation’s billionaires were worth less than a year ago.

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CEMEX Resumes Operations in Mexico

YAHOO NEWS: CEMEX, S.A.B. de C.V. announced today that, in accordance with the technical guidelines published today in the official Mexican gazette, the company will resume operations in Mexico to support the development and the economy of the country during the COVID-19 contingency.

CEMEX will fully comply with all the measures indicated by the Ministry of Health, as well as other best practices to operate in a safe and responsible environment. The health and safety of employees, contractors, suppliers, customers, and communities is a top priority for CEMEX, and the company will continue to enforce its health protocols to maintain a safe and clean working environment.

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Mexico Farm Leader Says Security Is ‘Achilles Heel’ of Food Supply

NEW YORK TIMES: Mexico’s government needs to ensure safety for farmers, truckers and supermarkets in order to guarantee the food supply even in a worst-case scenario for the coronavirus pandemic, the head of the main agriculture lobby said on Monday.

“The vision of the agro-food industry is in the worst-case scenario we will continue with the supply chain. Due to the latitude and longitude of our country, we have fresh produce all year round and there is sufficient inventory to see this crisis through,” said Bosco de la Vega, head of the National Farm Council (CNA).

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Mexico Reports 296 New Coronavirus Cases, Stresses Need for Medical Personnel

NEW YORK TIMES: Mexico posted its biggest single-day jump in coronavirus cases on Monday as the deputy health minister said the country needed to recruit more medical personnel to confront a worsening outbreak.

Mexico registered 296 new coronavirus infections, bringing the country’s total to 2,439 cases and 125 deaths, health officials told a news conference.

Predicting that cases in the country would continue to rise sharply, Deputy Health Minister Hugo Lopez-Gatell said Mexico had among the lowest number of medical personnel relative to population among countries in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development.

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Sixteen cases of COVID-19 confirmed in Laredo, bringing total number of positives to 122

LAREDO MORNING TIMES: Webb County and the City of Laredo have announced 16 new cases of COVID-19 today, bringing the total number of positive results in Laredo to 122.

More information on the positive cases was not immediately available due to the city’s policy of not revealing identifying information on coronavirus patients.

As the city’s 5 p.m.update, 596 persons have been tested for the novel coronavirus in Laredo. 367 tests have returned negative, with another 107 still pending results. The city also announced that 15 people who tested positive have passed their quarantine period and safe to return to the community.

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Laredo City Council almost immediately votes to table bulkhead agreement

LAREDO MORNING TIMES: Within the first few minutes of Laredo City Council’s Monday meeting, they voted to table the item regarding a non-binding agreement with CBP and the downtown bulkhead.

Citizens called on council to table this item due to the lack of public outreach that was conducted leading up to the meeting. Henry Sauvignet, chairman of the Tax Increment Reinvestment Zone committee for the downtown area, said the way this item was placed on the agenda did not pass the smell test.

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Two charts tell frightening story of El Paso unemployment crisis

EL PASO MATTERS: More than 19,000 people in the El Paso area have filed new claims for unemployment compensation in the three weeks since government began strict limits on movement to slow the spread of COVID-19. Workforce Solutions Borderplex released the latest numbers on Monday.

By contrast, El Paso’s total number of jobless in January — the most recent data available — was less than 15,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

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4 El Paso area CBP employees test positive for COVID-19

EL PASO MATTERS: Four U.S. Customs and Border Protection employees in the El Paso area have tested positive for COVID-19, the agency says in data recently made public.

CBP had said previously it would not make public the number of positive tests among agents and officers and those in their custody. But the agency began posting data for its employees on its website on Monday, showing 160 cases nationwide.

The agency hasn’t posted similar data for people in its custody. CBP officials didn’t immediately say whether they would be sharing that data.

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Officials urge El Pasoans to keep up social distancing as coronavirus cases rise to 125

EL PASO TIMES: As El Paso’s cases of COVID-19 continue to rise, now at 125 positive cases, officials are urging El Pasoans to keep social distancing and to follow CDC recommendations of wearing cloth masks in public.

The number of cases is up 10 from Sunday. City data show that 27 people are hospitalized and 10 are in intensive care at area health facilities. Two men in their 40s have died in Juarez from the novel coronavirus. 

Out of all cases, 16 people have recovered and there are a recorded 426 people who have tested negative for the virus, according to the Department of Public Health’s data. 

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El Paso lawmakers react to Gov. Greg Abbott’s actions to fight spread of COVID-19

EL PASO TIMES: Gov. Greg Abbott on Tuesday, announcing his latest executive action, was adamant his directive to the state setting “Essential Services and Activities Protocols” was not a stay-at-home order. A day later, he told Texans to “stay at home.”

“With COVID-19 spreading across Texas, I issued this executive order that requires all Texans to stay at home, except to provide essential services or do essential things,” Abbott said in a YouTube video posted on his office’s YouTube account. 

Texas and the rest of the country are in uncharted territory as leaders weigh how best to react to the COVID-19 outbreak that is leaving people concerned about their health and prosperity. 

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‘Vulnerable population’

VALLEY MORNING STAR: City officials continue to monitor nursing homes here as an 81-year-old man becomes Cameron County’s first confirmed death stemming from the coronavirus.

The man had been hospitalized at Valley Baptist Medical Center after living in the Veranda Rehabilitation and Healthcare.

“We are watching them very closely, and we’re very, very concerned,” Mayor Chris Boswell said Monday.

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101 cases of COVID-19 now confirmed in Cameron County; 5 tied to Windsor Atrium

VALLEY MORNING STAR: Cameron County health officials reported 14 new cases Monday night, including five connected to Windsor Atrium, a nursing home in Harlingen.

Earlier in the day, officials here confirmed the first death from COVID-19, which was an 81-year-old person connected to Veranda Healthcare & Rehabilitation, another nursing home.

Of the five cases related to Windsor Atrium, three are residents and two are employees.

Cameron County officials also reported that of the 101 positive tests, 20 people have been cleared.

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San Benito mulls cutting employee hours, furloughing part-time workers

VALLEY MORNING STAR: City commissioners on Tuesday will consider cutting some employees’ hours while placing part-time workers on furlough after shutting down some public buildings.

In a meeting, City Manager Manuel De La Rosa is expected to propose passing a resolution supporting the reduction of some employees’ hours from 40 to 32 a week while placing part-time workers on furlough.

Last month, officials closed parks and some buildings, such as the public library, to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

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Mayor, Health Authority ask Harlingen residents to wear face masks

VALLEY MORNING STAR: Harlingen Mayor Chris Boswell and Dr. Michael Mohun, Health Authority for the City of Harlingen, are recommending residents use face masks or coverings while in public.

The masks or coverings can be scarves, bandanas, or other facial coverings made out of cloth and fabric items as recommended by the Centers for Disease Control.

The directive follows the CDC call for the use of cloth face coverings as an additional measure to help prevent the spread of COVID-19.

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Three CBP officers in the Valley test positive for COVID-19

MCALLEN MONITOR: Three U.S. Customs and Border Protection officers based in the Rio Grande Valley tested positive for COVID-19.

CBP posted the number of confirmed cases on their website listing two officers in Rio Grande City and one officer in Brownsville.

A total of 160 CBP officers around the country have tested positive for the coronavirus.

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UTRGV students, scientists face potential ‘avalanche’ of COVID-19 tests

THE MONITOR: If you’re tested for the coronavirus in the Rio Grande Valley in the foreseeable future, there’s a very strong chance your sample will make its way to a lab at the University of Texas Rio Grande Valley’s Edinburg campus, where 18-odd students and virologist Dr. John Thomas have processed hundreds of samples in the past week and plan to process thousands more very soon.

Thomas is a veteran virologist who’s studied everything from dengue and Zika to weaponized bacteria and anthrax.

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Cases mount at nursing home; Judge extends shelter-in-place order two weeks

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: With Cameron County at 87 confirmed COVID-19 cases as of press time Monday, the first two deaths from the virus in the Rio Grande Valley are both associated with Veranda Rehabilitation and Healthcare in Harlingen, according to Cameron County Judge Eddie Treviño Jr., who held a press conference Monday afternoon.

The first person in the Valley to die was a Veranda employee who resided in Willacy County, while the second victim was an 81-year-old residents of the nursing facility, he said.

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Commission to discuss face mask usage

BROWNSVILLE HERALD: Brownsville Mayor Trey Mendez said the Brownsville City Commission will address the use of face masks at today’s City Commission meeting.

Mendez made the comments on his Facebook page Monday morning.

“The City commission will be addressing the use of face masks at tomorrow’s meeting. In the meantime, I highly recommend that you wear a facemask or some other type of protective covering when in a public setting,” Mendez wrote.

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The Texas real estate market is headed for a slowdown. The question is for how long.

TEXAS TRIBUNE: As Texans adjust to life under orders to stay at home during the new coronavirus pandemic — and scramble to cover expenses with incomes that were drastically cut or abruptly shut off — housing and real estate experts say it’s hard to predict what the parallel public health and economic crises will do to home values and sales.

A lot depends on how long the twin troubles last.

“We definitely will have a slowdown, but the question is how much and how long,” said Scott Norman, executive director of the Texas Association of Builders.

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UT-Austin President Greg Fenves leaving Texas flagship for Emory University, source says

TEXAS TRIBUNE: University of Texas at Austin President Greg Fenves is expected to announce this week that he will leave the state’s flagship college for Emory University, according to one source with knowledge of the decision.

Fenves has been president of UT-Austin since 2015, afterserving as executive vice president and provost, and as dean of the Cockrell School of Engineering. He did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

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