US and Canada extend non-essential travel ban to fight pandemic spread

'As we've seen the decisions that we're taking are very much made week to week in this crisis'

Justin Vallejo
New York
Tuesday 19 May 2020 21:39 BST
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US and Canada to extend non-essential travel ban to fight pandemic spread

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The United States and Canada have extended a ban on non-essential travel between the two countries for another 30 days.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau first announced the extension on Tuesday, saying they would keep the ban in place to fight the spread of coronavirus across the shared land border.

"This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe," Mr Trudeau said during his daily coronavirus press briefing.

It is the second extension since the ban was initially introduced in mid-March. It was extended in April until 21 May and would now continue to 21 June, with decisions likely to continue on a rolling basis as new information becomes available.

"As we've seen the decisions that we're taking are very much made week to week in this crisis," Mr Trudeau said.

"The situation is changing rapidly and we're adjusting constantly to what is the right measure for Canadians to get that balance right between keeping safe and restoring a semblance of normality and the economic activity that we all rely on."

"We're going to keep making those decisions as time goes on. It was the right thing to further extend by 30 days our closure of the Canada-US border to travellers other than essential services and goods."

"But we will continue to watch carefully what's happening elsewhere in the world and around us as we make decisions on next steps."

When first announcing the ban in March, Mr Trump said the temporary closure of the northern border was by "mutual consent".

Mr Trump told reporters at the White House on Tuesday that he's hopeful the border will eventually open.

"We're talking to Canada. As things clean up in terms of the plague, we're both going to want to do the normal, we want to get back to normal," he said.

Mr Trump said the border could open before 21 June as both countries were "doing well".

"Canada is our neighbour, we have a great relationship, we love Canada. So we're going to be talking and at the right time we'll open up very quickly. That'll go very easily," he said.

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