Canada-U.S. border temporarily closes to non-essential traffic over coronavirus

[UPDATED: MARCH 19, 2020]

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Thursday that the Canada-U.S border will likely be closed to non-essential travel by Friday night.

“We are working on the final details with the U.S but we expect the measures to come into effect sometime during the night between Friday and Saturday…in about a day and a half” the Canadian Prime Minister said.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau previously announced on Wednesday, the border between Canada and the U.S. will be temporarily closed to non-essential traffic.

“Essential travel will continue,” in order to preserve “critical” supply chains between the two countries.

 Shipments, trade and commerce will not be affected by the new restrictions. Trucking which allows food, fuel and life-saving medicines to move between Canada and the U.S. will not be affected.

“Canadians and Americans cross the border every day to do essential work or for other urgent reasons — that will not be impacted,” Trudeau said.

U.S. President Donald Trump also confirmed the announcement in his tweet Wednesday morning and said, the decision was ‘by mutual consent,’ and that ‘trade will not be affected.’

The border is already closing Wednesday to most foreigners, and international flights are being rerouted to four airports in Canada where enhanced screening measures are being executed, and passengers returning to Canada are asked to enter self-isolation for 14 days, an effort to lessen the spread of the global pandemic.

This latest effort from the Canadian government is an unprecedented measure attempting to limit the cross-border spread of COVID-19, while still considering the ongoing need for workers who cross the border daily to transport essential goods.

PM Trudeau also announced today a massive $82-billion aid package to help Canadians and businesses, including income supports, wage subsidies and tax deferrals amid the rapidly evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

Trudeau said his federal cabinet is also considering whether to invoke the Emergencies Act., which would grant the federal government sweeping powers to regulate the movement of people and goods within the country during a state of emergency.

Trudeau is committing that the money will flow to Canadians as quickly as possible.

As of Wednesday, March 18, at 2:00 pm, there were 624 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada across 10 provinces and more than 200,000 globally.

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