The Canadian government, in agreement with US officials, will extend the closure of the two countries' mutual land border until at least December 21. The measure first came into effect in March due to the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) pandemic and was due to expire on November 21. All nonessential travel, including recreation and tourism, will be prohibited; however, freight and medical transport are exempt from the ban. The restrictions do not cover travel by air or essential business travel.
A ban on entry for most foreign nationals remains in place until at least October 31, with exemptions for some essential travel, such as aircrew members, temporary workers, international students, and diplomats. Canadian residents and their immediate family can enter provided they plan to stay for at least 15 days and returning residents and citizens are required to quarantine for 14 days upon arrival.
Domestic restrictions have largely been devolved to provincial authorities' discretion, and as such vary from region to region, with enhanced measures implemented in areas with high COVID-19 infection rates.
As of Wednesday, November 18, there have been 312,775 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada with 11,238 associated fatalities. Further international spread of the virus is to be expected in the near term.
The first case of COVID-19 was reported on December 31 and the source of the outbreak has been linked to a wet market in Wuhan (Hubei province, China). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
Measures adopted by local authorities evolve quickly and are usually effective immediately. Depending on the evolution of the outbreak in other countries, authorities are likely to modify, at very short notice, the list of countries whose travelers are subject to border control measures or entry restrictions upon their arrival to the territory in question. It is advised to postpone nonessential travel due to the risk that travelers may be refused entry or be subject to quarantine upon their arrival or during their stay.
To reduce the risk of transmission, travelers are advised to abide by the following measures:
- Frequently clean hands by applying an alcohol-based hand rub or washing with soap and water.
- When coughing and sneezing, cover mouth and nose with a flexed elbow or tissue; if used, throw the tissue away immediately and wash hands.
- If experiencing a fever, cough, difficulty breathing, or any other symptoms suggestive of respiratory illness, including pneumonia, call emergency services before going to the doctor or hospital to prevent the potential spread of the disease.