Trudeau closes Canadian borders to most foreign travellers amid coronavirus outbreak
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada will be closing its borders to most foreign travellers in an attempt to limit the spread of the novel coronavirus.
Speaking to reporters from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa, Trudeau said Canada is taking “increasingly aggressive steps” and will be closing its borders to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents of Canada.
“I know that these measures are far-reaching,” Trudeau said. “They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures.”
Trudeau said the restrictions will come into effect Wednesday but that exceptions will be made for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members and U.S. citizens.
Trudeau said that second, air operators will ban anyone who is showing symptoms of the virus from getting on a plane.
“That means anyone who has symptoms will not be able to enter Canada,” he said.
Trudeau said the government will set up a support program to assist asymptomatic Canadians seeking to return home.
Canadian travellers will be able to get financial assistance to help them with the costs of returning home or temporarily covering their basic needs while they wait to come back to Canada,” Trudeau said.
A statement from Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne on Monday evening detailed the creation of a the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad.
According to the statement, the program was created specifically for Canadians abroad directly impacted by the COVID-19 outbreak and that those using it can apply for an emergency loan of up to $5,000 to secure their return to Canada, as well as to “cover their life-sustaining needs” during the process.
Champagne’s statement also said that they will provide additional support to Canadians who are unable to immediately return home through both new “local and other organizational” partnerships and consular services.
Third, Trudeau said only four Canadian airports will receive international flights.
According to Trudeau, Pearson International Airport in Toronto, Vancouver International Airport, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau International Airport and Calgary International Airport will receive international flights.
He said domestic flights and flights from the U.S., Mexico and the Caribbean will not be affected and that the measures do not apply to commerce or trade.