Canada has announced the closure of its borders to all foreign nationals except US citizens, as the country’s Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau, unveiled measures to contain the new coronavirus outbreak and urged people to stay at home.
Trudeau, speaking from his home where he is in self-imposed quarantine after his wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the virus, said: “Over the past few days, we’ve seen Covid-19 spread around the world at an even faster pace. Canada is no exception.
“We assured you that as the situation evolved, our response would evolve too as the virus continues it spread. We’ve decided to take increasingly aggressive steps to keep you and your family safe.
Advising the citizens of the country, he stated: “All Canadians as much as possible should stay home.”
The PM revealed that the borders will remain open for shipping but his government will restrict flights to Canada’s four major cities- Toronto Pearson, Montreal-Trudeau, Vancouver international and Calgary international.
The move to close its borders comes in contrasts with earlier comments by Canadian health minister, Patty Hajdu, who had shown no support for restrictions into the country.
Canada has experienced a rise in cases in the number of those that have tested positive to the pandemic, with the country’s chief public health officer, Theresa Tam, warning residents that the chance to prevent the healthcare system from becoming overwhelmed by COVID-19 is fast becoming slim.
Speaking on the development, Tam stated: “Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow.
“We all need to act now. Covid-19 is a serious public health threat.”
Reports from the North American country have shown that the country now has 377 confirmed cases of the coronavirus; more than double the figures it had on Friday.
Other provinces have taken more extreme measures with Quebec telling all bars, clubs and gyms to close, while also calling on residents to practice social distancing and to remain at home when possible.
Despite the varied responses to the outbreak across the country, Trudeau called for unity among the people of Canada.
“The strength of our country is our capacity to come together and care for each other, especially in times of need. So call your friends, check in with your family. Think of your community,” he said.