Trudeau to announce restrictions on global flights

17 Mars, 2020, 15:06 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau
  • Coronavirus outbreak

Canada has closed its borders to all foreign nationals except for USA citizens, as the country's prime minister unveiled "increasingly aggressive" measures to contain the new coronavirus outbreak, and urged people to stay at home.

Sophie Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19.

On top of the US exception, there will be exemptions for air crews, diplomats and immediate family members of Canadian citizens, as well as truck drivers making regular deliveries across the Canada-US border.

Ottawa is urging Canadians not to travel outside the country and says citizens who are overseas should return home via commercial means.

Trudeau also re-upped a federal recommendation that Canadians overseas return home.

On Friday when Trudeau emerged from his front door to speak to the media, promise a major stimulus package and encourage Canadians returning from overseas to isolate themselves, he had formatted and printed his remarks from his desktop computer, the source said.

The prime minister has confirmed Canada is closing its borders. And anyone who shows symptoms of coronavirus will not be able to return to Canada, added Trudeau.

Further, only four airports - Pearson International Airport, Vancouver International Airport, Montreal Trudeau Airport, and Calgary International Airport - will be allowed to receive international flights. The four airports handle the highest number of passengers and volumes of freight in Canada.

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Ontario, the most-populous province, and one that accounts for almost half of confirmed cases, said it would delay a March 25 budget and instead deliver an economic and fiscal update.

Asked why U.S. citizens were exempt, Trudeau said the close bilateral integration meant the United States was in a different category from other nations but added that more measures could be announced soon. But even they will have to self-isolate for 14 days after arriving.

Mr Trudeau said there will be an assistance programme implemented for asymptomatic Canadians overseas to help them pay for their return, if needed, or to help them with basic needs as they wait to come home.

"Let me be clear, if you are overseas, it is time for you to come home", he said.

The coronavirus epidemic has spread to all provinces in Canada, the chief public health officer said on Sunday.

Enforcement measures would be required if the government took that approach, Mr. Trudeau said, adding the government is confident that Canadians will take the necessary steps.

"There are clearly reasons that we need to have crossing of our land borders for essential services and goods", said Henry.

Hajdu is scheduled to speak with her U.S. and Mexican counterparts, Alex Azar and Jorge Carlos Alcocer, to hammer out a "North American approach" to combating the COVID-19 virus.



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