U.S. And Canada Restrict Border To Essential Travel During Coronavirus Pandemic

The U.S. and Canada are barring nonessential travel across their border, a step underscoring the gravity of the coronavirus pandemic, President Donald Trump announced Wednesday.

Under the agreement, “trade will not be affected,” Trump wrote in a tweet.

Later Wednesday morning, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said “essential travel” would include deliveries of food, fuel and medicine, and occupations such as trucking or other people who do “essential work” across the border, as it is “critical that we preserve supply chains between both countries.”

“Travelers will no longer be permitted to cross the border for recreation and tourism,” Trudeau said, stressing that both he and Trump have urged their respective countries to “stay home” and “not visit their neighbors unless they absolutely have to.”

In response to question about when the closure would go into effect and how it would be enforced, Trudeau said the two countries’ officials would finalize the details “very quickly” and “very soon.”

On Monday, Trudeau closed the country’s border to those who aren’t Canadian citizens or permanent residents, but exempted U.S. citizens “for the moment,” given that “the level of integration of our two countries is quite particular,” he said.

But amid the rapid growth in cases of COVID-19, the disease caused by the virus, in both the U.S. and Canada, by Tuesday, officials in both countries began working on an agreement to restrict travel across the border to “essential” purposes, sources told the CBC, Associated Press and CNN.

The definition of “essential travel” was expected to include critical deliveries of food and supplies, but officials were torn over whether to include Americans or Canadians visiting family in either country.

Countries worldwide have restricted travel to stem the spread of the virus. On Tuesday, the European Union announced a 30-day ban on most nonessential travel to its 27 member nations, limiting it to food and medicine deliveries and people traveling to their home countries.

U.S. President Donald Trump and his coronavirus task force have advised Americans against any nonessential travel, citing guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

This week, the State Department issued a new global advisory urging “U.S. citizens to reconsider” any international travel.

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