FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
28 April 2009
CONTACT: Tim Bueler
MEXICANS TAKE SWINE FLU LIGHTLY ON U.S. BORDER
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)
About your guest:
im Gilchrist founded the multi-ethnic Minuteman Project on Oct. 1, 2004, after years of frustrated efforts trying to get a neglectful U.S. government to simply enforce existing immigration laws.
Jim holds a B.A. in newspaper journalism, a B.S. in business administration, and an M.B.A. in taxation. He is a former newspaper reporter and a retired California CPA (Certified Public Accountant).
Jim is a veteran of the U.S. Marine Corps and recipient of the Purple Heart award for wounds sustained while serving with an infantry unit in Vietnam, 1968 - 1969.
Mr. Gilchrist is a passionate defender of the First Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and an avid supporter of law enforcement organizations. He has appeared on over 3,500 radio and TV news and commentary shows in the past twelve months, and he believes he is only one of millions of 21st century minutemen / women / children who want the U.S. to remain governed by the "rule of law" and who want proactive enforcement of our national security protections and our immigration legal code.
Jim has lived in California since 1976 and currently resides in Aliso Viejo with his wife, Sandy.