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Canada And U.S. Agree To Close Border To Non-Essential Travel

In a move that is being called “unprecedented”, Canada and the United State have reached a mutual deal to close their borders to non-essential travel. The deal is another significant measure being taken by the countries to contain the spread of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

U.S. President Donald Trump was the first to confirm this important measures on Twitter yesterday. The move represents the fluid nature of the response to the coronavirus disease.

On the other hand, Justin Trudeau has announced that shoppers and tourists will not be allowed to move between the borders. He stepped out to address the public yesterday, March 18, at about 10:40 a.m. EDT.

Canadians will be permitted to return home, and international trade will continue. Truckers will be allowed to cross-border, in an effort to keep the flow of fuel, food, and medicines available to both countries.

Though Canadian citizens and permanent residents who present symptoms will not be allowed to board a plane, crossing the border by land may be an option.

Justin Trudeau also said travel bans within Canada are not off the table if the situation gets worse, following a reporter’s question.

A few days ago, on Monday, March 16, at around 1:40 PM EDT, Canada’s Prime Minister Justin Trudeau declared travel restriction on almost all foreigners, but, he admits that U.S. citizens were exempt from the travel restriction “for now.”

Closing its border with the United States underscores just how earnestly Canada is pursuing efforts to contain COVID-19. The U.S. is Canada’s major trading partner by far, with over Seventy (70) per cent of Canada’s exports sent to the U.S. each year.

The temporary non-essential travel will represent yet another blow to the economies of both countries, with major sectors such as travel and tourism being particularly hit hard.

About 200,000 people cross the border each day to travel, work, shop, and visit families. Chrystia Freeland, Canada’s deputy prime minister said the border is a “lifeline for citizens of both countries on both sides of [the] border,” on Tuesday.

At the same time, the spread of the coronavirus disease is forcing the hands of both countries to pass immediate containment measures.

So far, Canada has seen 598 coronavirus cases, with at least eight deaths.

The United States, which has roughly Ten times the population of Canada, has seen about 7,568 virus cases, and a death toll of at least 117.