Canada is taking more aggressive measures to prevent the spread of COVID-19, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced Monday.
The country is closing its borders to anyone who’s not a Canadian citizen or permanent resident. There will be exceptions, such as airline workers and those with families in Canada.
At this time, Trudeau said the measure doesn’t apply to US citizens.
“We recognize the level of integration of our two economies puts the US in a separate category from the rest of the world,” Trudeau said, adding that the situation could change in the coming days.
“We are not closing the door to any measure that could keep Canadians safe.”
Airline operators will also be required to screen all travellers for symptoms of the virus, and prevent sick people from boarding.
“Anyone who has symptoms can’t come to Canada,” Trudeau said.
Trudeau also said the government will financially assist Canadians abroad who are having trouble coming home, by providing money either to book a flight or pay for accommodation where they are.
Starting Wednesday, most international flights will only be allowed to land at four major airports:
- Toronto Pearson International Airport (YYZ)
- Montreal-Trudeau International Airport (YUL)
- Vancouver International Airport (YVR)
- Calgary International Airport (YYC)
The federal government has said this measure was coming so that border officers could properly screen arrivals for symptoms and make sure travellers know to self-isolate for 14 days.
The travel restrictions won’t apply to exchange and trade, because Canada doesn’t want to interrupt the flow of goods coming to the country, Trudeau said.
He addressed Canadians from self-isolation at his Ottawa home, where he’s remained since his wife Sophie Gregoire-Trudeau was diagnosed with COVID-19.