Coronavirus Concerns Close Canada's Borders For All But Canadian and American Citizens

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the closing of Canada's borders at a news conference Monday. Americans are exempt from the closure and will be allowed into the country, along with Canadian citizens and permanent residents. Trade and commerce are not expected to be affected at this time.

Exceptions are also expected to be given to diplomats, flight crews and the immediate families of Canadian citizens.

"I know this news will spark concern among Canadians traveling abroad," Trudeau said. "I want to assure you that our government will not leave you unsupported. To help asymptomatic Canadians return home, our government will be setting up a support program for Canadians who need to get on a plane. Canadian travelers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada."

"From the very beginning, Canada's response has been based on the latest available science and advice from our world-class health professionals," Trudeau continued. "Today's announcement is no different. These measures will help save lives."

"Let me be clear," Trudeau added, directing his comments to Canadians around the world. "If you are abroad, it is time for you to come home."

"My top priority is the health and safety of all Canadians. Our government is doing what it must to protect all Canadians, and to support workers and businesses," Trudeau said in a statement sent to Newsweek. "We will get through this together by following the directions from our public health and medical experts, and doing what we can to protect ourselves, our families, and our communities."

justin trudeau
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada's borders would be closed to all but Canadians and Americans due to the spread of coronavirus. Thomas Kienzle/AFP/Getty

Trudeau also advised Canadians against going into public and stay home.

"This is an adjustment for all of us," Trudeau said. "We know that staying home is an important step to protect the community and each other. We all have to do it."

Individuals who have just arrived in Canada are advised to remain in self-quarantine for 14 days. In addition, more officers from Canada Border Services Agency will be stationed at the country's points of entry to enhance and possibly increase coronavirus screening of individuals seeking to enter the country.

Canada's government will also provide a total of $10 billion to aid Canadian businesses impacted by coronavirus. "This is a tool that has worked before in difficult circumstances and we're confident that it is going to work again," Trudeau said.

President Donald Trump said in a Monday news conference that his administration has not made a decision regarding closing the U.S. border with Canada, but it has been considered.

"We think about it," Trump said. "If we don't have to do it, that will be good. We have very strong emergency powers when it comes to something like this both on the southern and the northern borders and we are talking about different things, but we'll see. Right now, we have not decided to do that."

Canada has reported four deaths attributable to coronavirus with 406 cases of the infection confirmed. Out of the cases reported, 11 individuals have recovered.

According to recent data, there have been 4,411 cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with 74 individuals reporting as fully recovered. However, 77 people in the U.S. have died of complications of coronavirus.

Coronavirus COVID-19 United States Statista
Spread of COVID-19 virus across the U.S. Statista

World Health Organization advice for avoiding spread of coronavirus disease (COVID-19)

Hygiene advice

  • Clean hands frequently with soap and water, or alcohol-based hand rub.
  • Wash hands after coughing or sneezing; when caring for the sick; before; during and after food preparation; before eating; after using the toilet; when hands are visibly dirty; and after handling animals or waste.
  • Maintain at least 1 meter (3 feet) distance from anyone who is coughing or sneezing.
  • Avoid touching your hands, nose and mouth. Do not spit in public.
  • Cover your mouth and nose with a tissue or bent elbow when coughing or sneezing. Discard the tissue immediately and clean your hands.

Medical advice

  • If you feel unwell (fever, cough, difficulty breathing) seek medical care early and call local health authorities in advance.
  • Stay up to date on COVID-19 developments issued by health authorities and follow their guidance.

Mask usage

  • Healthy individuals only need to wear a mask if taking care of a sick person.
  • Wear a mask if you are coughing or sneezing.
  • Masks are effective when used in combination with frequent hand cleaning.
  • Do not touch the mask while wearing it. Clean hands if you touch the mask.
  • Learn how to properly put on, remove and dispose of masks. Clean hands after disposing of mask.
  • Do not reuse single-use masks.

Updated 3:55 p.m. EST 3/17/2020: This story has been updated to include a quote from Trudeau sent to Newsweek.

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