RT, March 18, 2020
The US will close its borders with Canada to all “nonessential” traffic, US President Donald Trump has announced, pledging that trade between the two countries will not be affected and promising more details to come.
Trump announced the impending closure by tweet on Wednesday morning, emphasizing the decision had been made “by mutual consent” with Canadian PM Justin Trudeau and stressing that the move – which did not come with a planned date – would not impact trade.
Trudeau himself had closed the Canadian border to non-citizens on Monday due to the coronavirus epidemic, and Trump had said on Tuesday that he was discussing the border situation “very closely” with both his Canadian counterpart and Mexican President Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador. A Trump administration official told CNN that same day that the two countries would be issuing a joint statement within the next 48 hours regarding the suspension of non-essential travel.
The decision stops short of adding Canadians to the growing list of countries whose citizens are completely barred from entering the US due to high coronavirus risk. All Chinese and Iranian nationals, as well as citizens of Schengen Area EU countries, the UK, and Ireland, have been forbidden to enter the US – as is anyone who visited any of those countries within 14 days of arriving in the US. Even US citizens who recently passed through the viral no-mans-land must fly into one of 13 selected airports and undergo “enhanced entry screening” to reenter their homeland.
Some 6,519 coronavirus cases have been diagnosed in the US as of Wednesday, affecting all 50 states, and 115 infected people have died. Canada has 598 cases, with just eight deaths thus far. The epidemic has exploded in size since it first surfaced to global attention over three months ago in Wuhan, China, infecting more than 200,000 people worldwide.