#Canada; #US; #CanadaUSBorderClosure; #HealthSafety
Ottawa, Jul 14 (Canadian-Media): It has been confirmed by CBC News confirmed that the agreement to restrict travel across the Canada-U.S. border will be extended into August, media reports said.
Canada-US Border. Image credit: Flickr
The agreement was set to expire on July 21 and is now being renewed for the fourth time since the border closed to non-essential traffic on March 21.
The extension comes after a range of issues that included the border closure were discussed Monday by Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and U.S. President Donald Trump over the phone.
Despite calls from U.S. members of Congress to consider a phased plan for reopening, Canadian government officials say they expect the border to stay largely closed for the foreseeable future.
The fact that U.S. states are being hit record daily highs in a large number of COVID-19 cases, any resumption of pre-pandemic travel a would cause significant health threat to Canada.
"We recognize that the situation continues to be complex in the United States in regards to COVID-19," Trudeau said Monday at a press conference. "Every month, we have been able to extend the border closures to all but essential goods and services and those discussions are ongoing."
80 percent of Canadians, according to recent polls, favour keeping the border restrictions in place.
It has also been suggested by some leading public health experts the border should remain closed until at least the end of the year.
Owing to the differences in the epidemiological climates in the two countries, the border closure continues to make sense from a public health perspective, said Dr. Howard Njoo, Canada's deputy public health officer.
"Canadians have made tremendous sacrifices to date in terms of flattening the curve and we're seeing the fruits of our labours," Njoo said. "We don't want to ... waste these efforts by potentially ... reintroducing the virus into Canada and increasing the risk of further transmission."
Bloc Quebecois Leader Yves-François Blanchet told reporters that the border should remain closed because the pandemic is still out of control in the U.S.
"If we take examples of countries who managed well this crisis, in the list of those who did well, you won't find the United States," Blanchet said.
"As long as the border appears to be a threat in the health of Quebecers and Canadians, it should remain closed."