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Canada tightens borders, restricts travel and urges people to stay home

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March 16, 2020
By Todd Humber

Canada is closing its borders to anyone who is not a citizen or permanent resident, according to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

Trudeau made the announcement this afternoon — but, for now, exempted U.S. citizens from the travel ban.

“We’ve been collaborating very closely with the United States, the level of integration of our two countries is quite particular,” he said in response to a question about why Americans were still being allowed to cross the border. “Our first preoccupation is and always will be the continued safety of Canadians.”

There are some other exceptions including air crews, diplomats and immediate family members of citizens.


Sick people cannot board planes

Airlines are being told to ban travelers with symptoms of COVID-19 from getting on a plane.

Airlines will be conducting an assessment of each passenger’s health prior to boarding and individuals who have symptoms will not be allowed in to the country — that includes Canadians, said Trudeau.

To help asymptomatic Canadians return, Ottawa will set up a support program — but the speech was light on details. More information is expected to be forthcoming.

International flights limited to 4 airports

Only four Canadian airports will be accepting international flights — Toronto (Pearson); Montreal (Trudeau); Calgary; and Vancouver.

The ban does not apply to flights originating from the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and St. Pierre and Miquelon.

None of the restrictions will apply to commerce or trade, said Trudeau.

Don’t travel, stay home

Trudeau urged people to avoid non-essential travel outside the country and repeated the call for Canadians to return home.

“If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days,” said Trudeau, adding that everyone should stay home as much as possible.

He stopped short of saying the isolation would be mandatory and enforced, adding he was confident people would do the right things to keep themselves, their families and their communities safe.

“This is an adjustment for all of us,” he said. “We know that staying home is an important step to protect the community and each other.”

He also pointed out that social distancing “does not mean we have to stop talking to each other.”

People should write emails, Facetime and call friends and family, he said.

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