Lifting Canada’s Border Closure Still Too Risky, Health Remains Top Priority for Any Border Reopening Plan says PM Trudeau

During his address to Canadians on Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau told Canadians that Canada is not in a rush to open its borders citing public health as a top concern and priority for the nation. 

The Prime Minister reassured Canadians saying that he understands the growing frustrations with the border closures currently in place however emphasized that reopening the borders too hastily may spark a second wave of COVID-19 cases in Canada.

“I understand how difficult this is and how frustrating this is for some people, but we know that reopening too quickly or carelessly would lead us to a resurgence that might well force us to go back into lockdown, to shut down the economy once again and nobody wants that,” said the Prime Minister.

The update came one day after the World Health Organization (WHO) reported a record number of new COVID-19 cases around the world with 183,020 new cases as of Monday, June 22, the largest one-day increase on record. 

As of Monday, there have been more than 8.8 million cases of confirmed COVID-19 cases around the world with more than 465,000 deaths.

Growing Pressure from Tourism Industry to Reopen Canadian Borders

With summer quickly approaching, airlines and certain regions of Canada that depend on tourism and international visitors cited financial difficulties and the need for Canada to lift border closures. 

Representatives from Air Canada, Air Transat, and WestJet have repeatedly mentioned the financial difficulties that they are facing citing a 95 percent year-over-year drop in flight bookings. 

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressed these concerns and growing pressure from tourism industries saying that the federal government will be careful when it comes to any border reopening plans.

“We are going to be very, very careful about when and how we start reopening international borders,” he said.

“As we look at those next steps, we need to make sure we are keeping Canadians safe, first and foremost”.

Since March, the federal government had announced it was closing its borders to non-Canadian citizens with limited exceptions in efforts to prevent the spread of COVID-19. 

Additionally, the government made it mandatory for all travellers arriving in Canada to go into self-isolation for 14 days. 

An airline witness reported that these border restrictions and quarantine periods are a part of the reason why people are more hesitant to book flights.

The Prime Minister told reporters on Monday that he would “like to see a return to international travel so we can get people coming and supporting our local communities and seeing business travel pick up again,” however reiterated that health will be a top priority. 

Currently, the Canada-U.S. land border continues to remain closed until July 21, however, Canadians can technically fly to the U.S if they have not recently been to countries heavily affected by COVID-19.

The Canadian Government also currently emphasizes that all non-essential travel outside Canada must be avoided. 

On the official website of the Government of Canada, it was made clear that people deciding to travel during the pandemic could not only put themselves and others at risk of being infected but could also result in them being stranded in other countries. 

Canada COVID-19 Statistics (June 23, 2020)

Confirmed Cases: 101,837

Deaths: 8,446

Recovered: 64,508

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