Justin Trudeau Implements Severe Border Restrictions to Prevent Coronavirus Infections

Strict restrictions implemented to slow the spread of COVID-19

Justin Trudeau in 2018
Justin Trudeau in 2018.
MSC / MCI/Creative Commons

The Canadian government just took a big step to reduce the number of coronavirus infections within its borders. Vice reports that Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that Canada’s borders will be closed, with some exceptions.

Trudeau said he is closing Canadian borders to all people who are not citizens or permanent residents, save for U.S. citizens, diplomats, airplane crew members, and their immediate family members.

Trudeau said he made exceptions for U.S. citizens because of close ties between the two countries, but this may change in the future.

One significant exception to this: anyone who is currently showing symptoms of being infected with COVID-19 will not be permitted to enter Canada. “The prime minister said Ottawa will put strategies in place to support sick Canadians abroad,” writes Vice‘s Anya Zoledziowski.

As of 9 a.m. on March 16, Canada had 324 confirmed cases of coronavirus. According to a report from the Canadian government, 74% of those cases came from people who had traveled; another 6% were “close contacts” of the aforementioned group.

Public officials such Trudeau and Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam have urged Canadians to not panic. “Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow,” Dr. Tam said at a recent news conference, according to a story in the National Post. The steps being taken in Canada echo the measures being implemented around the world, from restrictions on businesses to recommendations on social distancing.

Vice‘s report notes that, as was the case in many American cities, a large number of students in Ontario opted to visit crowded bars to celebrate St. Patrick’s Day over the weekend — a decision that many might come to regret.

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