Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday that Canada will close its borders to noncitizens as part of “exceptional” measures to try to deal with the escalating coronavirus outbreak.
“We will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents,” Mr. Trudeau said outside of his home in Ottawa. “This measure will carve out some designated exceptions, including for air crews, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, and at this time U.S. citizens.”
He said anyone exhibiting basic symptoms of the virus will not be able to come to Canada.
“I know this news will spark concern among Canadians traveling abroad,” Mr. Trudeau said. “I want to assure you that our government will not leave you unsupported.”
He said there will be a government support program for asymptomatic Canadians who need to get on a plane.
Starting March 18, only four Canadian airports will be receiving international flights, Mr. Trudeau said: Toronto Pearson, Montreal-Trudeau, Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport.
“Canadian travelers should return to Canada [via] commercial means while it is still possible to do so,” he said. “Let me be clear: If you are abroad, it’s time to come home. If you’ve just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days.”
He also said all Canadians, “as much as possible,” should stay home.
“I know that these measures are far-reaching. They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures,” Mr. Trudeau said.
He said he informed Canada’s G-7 partners of the changes on a call earlier in the day.
As of Monday morning, there were 324 confirmed COVID-19 cases in Canada — a significantly lower number than the more than 4,000 cases in the United States.
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