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2 Big Moves in Virus Fight: Mexico and Medical Supplies

US and Mexico close border, Trump invokes Defense Production Act for critical medical gear
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 20, 2020 1:55 PM CDT

(Newser) – President Trump got into a testy exchange with a reporter at a Friday news conference about the coronavirus pandemic, but there were other developments at the presser:

  • Trump's action: The president invoked the Defense Production Act to get needed medical supplies such as ventilators and masks on the front lines, per the AP. Trump had said earlier in the week he would tap the 1950 act as needed, and on Friday he put that "in gear." Essentially, he can marshal the private sector to help fight the pandemic. Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said he implored Trump during a phone call Friday to invoke the act immediately. The president told Schumer he would, then could be heard on the telephone making the order.

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  • Mexico: Trump announced an effective closure of the US border with Mexico, in agreement with Mexico, prohibiting recreational and tourist travel, but allowing for trade. This is similar to the restrictions put in place earlier this week along the US-Canadian border and follows a stepped-up State Department travel advisory telling Americans they shouldn't leave the country. Trump said the actions with the country's North American partners "will save countless lives."
(Read more coronavirus stories.)

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