OTTAWA – Federal Canadian ministers have announced new restrictions to international travel as a means to slow the propagation of the COVID-19 virus.
Overseas flights coming into Canada will soon only be allowed to land at a limited number of airports, Transport minister Marc Garneau announced Friday.
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When this measure will be put into place and which airports will be chosen has yet to be announced, but Montreal, Toronto and Vancouver are likely choices.
Cruise ships of over 500 passengers will also no longer be allowed to dock in Canada before July, Garneau added.
Canada’s top doctor, Dr Theresa Tam, also recommended that Canadians “postpone or cancel all non-essential travel outside of Canada.” As of Friday at noon, there were 157 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada.
These are “extraordinary, unprecedented circumstances”, illustrated Chrystia Freeland, the Deputy Prime Minister of Canada.
“We know we have to take additional measures every day, and these are necessary measures to protect Canadians,” added Health minister Patty Hajdu, implying that more is to come regarding the COVID-19 pandemic.
We know we have to take additional measures every day, and these are necessary measures to protect Canadians
“We know Canadians are worried, Hajdu added. We will be beside provinces and territories every step of the way […] This is a serious public health threat as well as an emergency.”
These measures come after American president Donald Trump announced a 30-day travel ban on citizens of 26 European countries that takes effect from midnight on Friday.
During a press conference, Chrystia Freeland also shared news about the new USMCA free trade agreement.
“Today is a very positive milestone. The new NAFTA has just been ratified by the House of Commons and the Senate” she told reporters. The bill became law when it received royal assent from the governor general early on Friday afternoon.