In an announcement on Monday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says the country is tightening borders to curb the transmission of COVID-19.
In light of the global pandemic, the federal government will be denying entry to Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada.
Designated exceptions to this rule include U.S. citizens, airline crews, diplomats, and people whose immediate families are Canadian.
Trudeau says Canada is closely interlinked to the U.S. economically and otherwise thus putting the country in a separate category than others, but authorities will continue to monitor the situation.
Airlines will also receive a formal direction to prohibit all passengers who have symptoms of COVID-19, as assessed by public health officials, from boarding a plane, ensuring no one with any symptoms will be able to enter the country.
Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
Travel restrictions will not apply to domestic flights apply to trade and commerce.
According to Trudeau, Canadian travellers will also be able to access financial assistance to help them with the cost of getting home or temporarily covering the cost of basic needs.
All Canadians are being asked to avoid non-essential travel outside the country and those abroad are advised to come back home and self isolate for 14 days.
Further measures to financially support Canadians, particularly the most vulnerable population, are expected to be announced on Tuesday.
“I want to remind all Canadians that social distancing doesn’t mean we have to stop talking to each other,” says Trudeau.
“The strength of our country is our capacity to come together and care for each other especially in times of need.”
He urges everyone to check in on friends and family members, buy only what you need at the store, and ask your neighbours if they need anything.
Busy day of meetings and interviews today. COVID-19 is an evolving situation in Canada and around the world, and nothing is off the table as we consider every option to protect the health of Canadians and the economy. More updates to come throughout the day.
— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) March 15, 2020
The Canadian Prime Minister himself is still in self isolation after his wife Sophie Grégoire Trudeau tested positive for COVID-19. She began exhibiting flu-like symptoms after attending an event in London, UK.
Spain, Italy, and various cities in the U.S. have declared a lockdown due to the global pandemic, while many other countries have introduced major restrictions.
Last week, Transport Canada banned all cruise ships with 500 passengers or more from docking at ports in Canada until June 1st.
In light of the global coronavirus pandemic, the B.C. and federal Ministry of Health have advised against all non essential travel outside Canada, including to the United States.
Those who do choose to travel against this advice will be asked to self isolate from school or work for 14 days upon their return to Canada.
The BCCDC has set up a 2019 novel coronavirus telephone information line at 1-833-784-4397 for those who have further questions about this disease.
Anyone concerned that they may have been exposed to, or are experiencing symptoms of the novel coronavirus, should contact their primary care provider, local public health office, or call 8-1-1.
So far, there is only one case of COVID-19 in Victoria – a 63-year-old man who returned from travelling in Egypt, and is recovering at home in isolation.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 175,769.
Nearly 6,800 people have died from the illness and 77,868 have made a full recovery.