Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, on Monday announced that Canada is closing its borders to most foreign travellers, except Americans, in order to slow the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Trudeau made the disclosure at a news conference outside his residence where he and his family are self-isolating after his wife, Sophie, tested positive to the Covid-19 virus.
He said: “We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.
“All Canadians, as much as possible, should also stay home.
“US citizens will be exempted from the ban because of the high level of integration of our two economies and the coordination that we have.This puts the US in a separate category from the rest of the world.”
However, there will be exemptions for air crews, diplomats and immediate family members of Canadian citizens.
Airlines will also be ordered not to allow passengers with flu-like symptoms to board flights and all inbound international flights will be redirected to four Canadian airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary and Vancouver, where health screenings will be stepped up.
According to Transport Minister, Marc Garneau: “These measures will take effect starting midday on March 18.”
As of 9 am(1300 GMT) on Monday, Health Canada has confirmed 324 Coronavirus cases in Canada and one death.
Local media, however, reported three new deaths in British Columbia province.