In an announcement on Thursday morning, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced that the Canada-U.S. border will be closed to all non-essential travel by this Saturday.
Travellers will no longer be allowed to cross the border for recreational or tourist purposes in a collaborative effort to curb the spread of COVID-19, said Deputy PM Chrystia Freeland at a press conference this morning.
She reiterated that essential border crossings and trade movements will not be impeded by these measures.
PM Trudeau also talked about Canadians trying to get home from abroad, stating that the federal government has worked with telecommunication businesses to send out a text to Canadians abroad to make sure they are aware that consular services are available to them.
The government has also established a $5,000 loan available to Canadians who are in the process of trying to get home from other countries.
Minister Freeland also confirmed that asylum seekers crossing the border into Canada at Roxham Road will be temporarily housed in order to ensure that they are all quarantined for 14 days like everyone else entering the country.
According to Canada’s top doctor, Dr. Theresa Tam, there are currently 772 cases and 9 deaths of COVID-19, and now 10 confirmed cases in CFB.
Thus far, authorities have tested over 25,000 people for COVID-19 across Canada – an increase of 10,000 tests since Wednesday March 18th.
Dr. Tam says what is most concerning are the day by day sharp increase in cases reported by provinces, and the emergence of new cases that have no links to travel.
These signals of community transmission and cluster outbreaks are currently the focus of public health investigations.
Based on the latest updates, there are 231 cases of COVID-19 in B.C. including 16 on Vancouver Island.
The federal government recently announced an $82 billion assistance package for Canadians and businesses struggling financially during the global pandemic.
On Tuesday, B.C. joined Alberta and Ontario in declaring a public health emergency in order to curb the spread of COVID-19. Today, B.C. Minister of Public Safety and Solicitor General Mike Farnworth declared a provincial state of emergency to support the health ministry’s public health emergency.
The provincial government also announced the indefinite suspension of all in-person classes at K-12 schools in B.C.
Canada has also tightened its borders and is denying entry to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents in Canada. U.S. citizens are no longer an exception to this rule.
Moreover international flights will now be restricted to international airports in Toronto, Montreal, Vancouver, and Calgary.
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.
The Province has also created the 1-888-COVID-19 line to connect British Columbians needing non-medical information about the coronavirus pandemic.
As of the time of publication, the total number of COVID-19 patients worldwide has risen to 230,030.
Nearly 9,400 people have died from the illness and 86,256 have made a full recovery.