Canada restricts travel and requires airlines to ban symptomatic passengers


Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced a number of new measures Monday to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus in Canada. The most extreme is that Canada is closing its borders to non-citizens and anyone not holding permanent residence status, with the exception of US citizens, though this won't apply to commercial freight and cargo transportation necessary for doing business.

Trudeau is also asking airlines to prevent travellers with COVID-19 symptoms from flying.

The CBSA and federal government have been criticized by many who have said travellers arriving in Canada haven't been adequately screened amid the outbreak.

Trudeau said the borders will remain open for shipping, but said his government will restrict flights to Canada to airports in four major cities: Toronto Pearson, Montreal-Trudeau, Vancouver worldwide and Calgary global.

But Dix said that while his government supports Trudeau's actions, the threat of Americans bringing the virus into Canada was crucial to British Columbians.

Airport operators will be required to conduct basic health assessments for all travellers.

The announcement Monday follows criticism about COVID-19 screening measures at Canadian airports, notably Toronto Pearson International, and an increase in confirmed cases of the virus on Canadian soil.

Monday's announcement came not too long after the government urged Canadians traveling overseas to look at ways to return home over the weekend.

"Not panicking about anything is going to be really important", Trudeau said.

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On Monday, health officials in B.C. announced three more deaths connected to COVID-19 had been recorded, along with 30 new cases. "That means anyone who has symptoms will not be able to enter Canada", he explained.

Trade will continue with other countries, Trudeau added.

The government will make $10 billion available to businesses affected by COVID-19.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, whose wife had tested positive for the virus, announced the closure on Monday as part of measures to fight the infection.

Meanwhile, Canada Border Services Agency staff said new enhanced screening measures continue to be added at worldwide airports, including new screening questions for all travelers from overseas. "We are not running out of food or other supplies", she said.

The Canadian government is not yet mandating self-isolation, he said.

Prime Minister Trudeau said he understands the criticism and the frustration of some Canadians for not reacting quicker but added the situation is evolving extremely quickly.

As of Sunday, health officials across Canada had recommended that people avoid gatherings of 250 people or more but had not advised retailers to shutter.