Canada will officially close its borders to virtually all non-residents.
On Monday, Justin Trudeau announced that only Canadian citizens and permanent residents will be permitted into the country as of Wednesday, March 18.
Other exceptions include the United States, Mexico, the Caribbean and foreign diplomats. Domestic flights will also remain uninterrupted.
All international flights will be rerouted to airports in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary or Vancouver, as these airports have the capacity to properly screen for COVID-19.
Air operators will screen all returning Canadians for symptoms.
Any passenger showing symptoms will not be allowed to board commercial flights, although Trudeau reassured Canadians that there will be a “system” put in place to help symptomatic citizens.
Trudeau revealed that the decision came after he spoke with G7 leaders regarding the severity of the coronavirus outbreak.
He has also spoken several times with President Trump over the past few days, and Trudeau stressed to reporters that he is “coordinating very carefully with the Americans.”
The Prime Minister said that Americans are allowed entry to Canada “for the moment,” but did not rule out closing Canada’s border to the United States in future.
The Prime Minister also reassured Canadians that the border closure will not affect trade.
With uncharacteristic severity, Trudeau warned Canadians that now is the time to act to prevent further spread of the virus.
The Prime Minister said, “All Canadians — as much as possible — should stay home.”
For Canadians abroad, he added, “Let me be clear: if you are abroad, it is time for you to come home.”