Report: Canada, US to extend ban on non-essential border traffic

Canadians say surge in US coronavirus cases means no chance of non-essential tourist traffic between the two countries.

US Canada border
Drivers wait to cross through Canadian customs at the Canada-US border in Surrey, British Columbia. Canadian officials say the border is likely to remain closed to non-essential traffic for the foreseeable future [File: Jesse Winter/Reuters]

Canada and the United States are set to extend a ban on non-essential travel that was imposed to fight the coronavirus outbreak, although a final decision has not been taken, two Ottawa sources familiar with the matter told the Reuters news agency on Monday.

The ban, introduced in March, has been extended several times and is due to expire on July 21. The measure does not include trade.

Infections have risen rapidly in about 40 of the 50 US states over the last two weeks, and the premiers of major Canadian provinces say the frontier must remain shut.

Although some US politicians in northern states are pressing for the measures to be relaxed, the Ottawa sources said the extension was virtually inevitable given the seriousness of the crisis in the US.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier told reporters talks between the two nations on the ban were continuing and said: “We will have more to say later this week, I’m sure.”

Doug Ford, premier of Ontario, Canada’s most populous province, on Monday said the situation in Florida was “staggering” and “scary”.

The chief medical officer in the Pacific province of British Columbia said last week there was no chance of non-essential travel with the US this summer, given how widespread the virus was south of the border.

US official warns ‘window is closing’ as coronavirus cases surge (2:21)

In a rare public comment on the faltering US efforts, Trudeau said on July 8 that Canada had handled the outbreak better than the US.

The US – which has a population almost nine times larger than Canada’s – has recorded more than 135,000 deaths compared with 8,783 in Canada.

Trudeau also said he had talked to US President Donald Trump earlier on Monday and reiterated his opposition to the possible imposition of tariffs on Canadian aluminium exports.

Source: Reuters