Canada is drastically tightening its borders to deal with the COVID-19 crisis.
Prime MInister Justin Trudeau today said the border will be closed and that only Canadians citizens, Canadian permanent residents and U.S. citizens will be allowed into the country. Immediate family members of Canadians also will be allowed.
He also said planes from international airports will only be allowed to land in Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto and Montreal as of Wednesday, March 18. As well, airlines will be asked to screen passengers before they get on board and will be able to deny passage to would-be fliers who show COVID-19 symptoms.
“Anyone who has symptoms will not be able to come to Canada,” the PM said.
Trudeau said Canadian travellers stranded overseas will get assistance to get home.
Travellers returning to Canada will be asked to acknowledge that they have been asked to self-isolate for 14 days once they get home.
He also said all Canadians, “as much as possible, should stay home.”
“We are taking increasingly aggressive steps to keep you and your family safe,” Trudeau said in an address to Canadians outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, where he is self-isolation. “These measures will save lives.”
“I know that these measures are far reaching,” the Prime MInister said. “They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures.”
It’s an extraordinary move that could help the crisis, but the moves are definitely a blow to the already struggling Canadian travel and airline industry.
According to the CBC, an official in the Prime Minister’s Office said the measures will be in place “as long as necessary” because the situation is “evolving.”
Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland said the decision to keep the border open to Americans was made to reflect the integration of the two economies and populations, and to maintain essential supply lines for things like food, the CBC said.