Prime Minister Justin Trudeau is asking all Canadians to return home while commercial flights are still available, as Canada closes borders to non-Canadian citizens and permanent residents because of COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.
CANADA CLOSES BORDERS TO EVERYONE WHO ISN’T CANADIAN (OR AMERICAN)
Only Canadian citizens, permanent residents and their qualified dependents, diplomats, air crew and US citizens are being allowed entry into Canada. Only travellers who are not showing symptoms of COVID-19 will be allowed entry into Canada.
Air operators have been given instructions not to allow travellers showing symptoms of COVID-19 to board any aircraft.
Trudeau said: “If you’re abroad, it’s time for you to come home. If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days, and finally all Canadians as much as possible, should stay home.”
Trudeau acknowledged that the announcement would cause concern, as there were many Canadians still outside the country.
GOVERNMENT OF CANADA TO SHOULDER COSTS FOR CANADIANS STUCK OUTSIDE THE COUNTRY
Trudeau said that the Government of Canada will shoulder the costs of getting them home, or provide funds to cover their basic needs until they are able to return to Canada.
More measures will be announced very soon, as the Government of Canada takes increasingly aggressive steps to keep the country and its population safe.
Trudeau himself is in self isolation, after his wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, had tested positive for the coronavirus.
Trudeau also said that these are “exceptional circumstances, calling for exceptional measures.”
Trudeau had earlier spoken with his fellow leaders from the G7, when it was reported that he informed them of Canada’s plans to close off its borders.
CANADIANS URGED TO STAY INDOORS, PRACTICE SELF ISOLATION AND SOCIAL DISTANCING
Canadians are urged to stay home if possible, to do their part in limiting the spread of the virus and to conserve the resources of the Canadian healthcare system.
Schools have been closed, as well as many businesses as Canadians start practicing social distancing and self isolation.
Provincial and territorial governments have been providing updates on the number of confirmed cases in their jurisdictions. Premiers have been calling for the Government of Canada to do more, including closing off Canada’s borders.
Future updates will be given by representatives from Health Canada everyday at noon.
Priori to the suspension of the Parliament of Canada, the government announced a CAD$1 billion health and economic response package, together with a CAD$10 billion package for Canadian businesses which are being negatively impacted by COVID-19.
Canada has already administered more than 25,000 COVID-19 tests.
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