During a news conference given from his home on Thursday, Canada's Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that the country would likely be shutting down the Canada-U.S. border by Saturday, Raw Story reported.
"We are continuing to work on the fine-tuning of the agreement between Canada (and) the United States, I think it's almost there," he said.
"My understanding is that the measure will probably come into place in the night between Friday and Saturday, so in about a day and a half."As reported by BNN Bloomberg, crucial cross-border workers — such as airline crews, truck drivers, and health care workers — will continue to cross in an effort to maintain import-export relationships
"Trade, which is essential, will continue," said Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland. "Don't make discretionary trips and that is what border officials will be enforcing."
Howard Njoo, deputy to chief public health officer Theresa Tam, noted that border closing won't stop the virus from entering the country but is nevertheless one component of an effective multi-layered system against the pandemic.
The move comes not long after U.S. President Donald Trump banned visitors from China, Europe, and other parts of the world. Speaking with reporters at the White House, the president said he hopes that the border between Canada and America will be reopened in about 30 days.
"Hopefully at the end of 30 days we'll be in great shape," he said.Coronavirus cases in Canada have increased to 772, and 10 people have died from COVID-19 -- the disease caused by the virus. Chief public health officer Theresa Tam pointed out that the country's concern is the "sharp" increase in these figures, as well as new cases in people that didn't stem from travel.
In an op-ed for CNN, Michael Bociurkiw noted that the "unprecedented closure" is the "most far-reaching travel restriction" in North America since COVID-19 arrived in Canada.
"The closure is jarring to our national psyche as Canadians: Many of us up north regard the ability to cross the world's longest undefended border right up there in importance with lacing up a pair of ice skates in the dead of the Canadian winter."Regardless, Bociurkiw supported the move and deemed in necessary amid the U.S. response, which he opined was a failure due to a lack of preparation. He cited the 10,900-plus cases and 160 deaths across 50 states, which is much higher than Canada's figures for the time being.
Bociurkiw also noted that Ottawa-based political analyst Yaroslav Baran claimed that the decision to restrict border crossings severely was made using expert advice from both the U.S. and Canada to limit movement without disrupting supply chains.