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16 Mar 2020 | 11:46 PM UTC

Canada: Government bars entry to all foreign nationals except US March 16 /update 6

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced an entry ban for all foreign nationals except US citizens on March 16 due to COVID-19; confirm travel itineraries



Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday, March 16, that all foreign nationals except those from the US will be denied entry to Canada to limit the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19). The measure does not apply to air crews, travelers transiting in Canada only, diplomats, immediate family members of Canadian citizens, or permanent residents. He also announced that international flight arrivals will only be permitted at four airports: Toronto Pearson (YYZ), Vancouver (YVR), Montreal-Trudeau (YUL), and Calgary (YYC). Domestic flights and flights from the US, Mexico, the Carribean, and St. Pierre-et-Miquelon can continue to operate as normal. However, any individual presenting symptoms of the virus will not be allowed to board an international flight from their point of departure. All airlines are therefore expected to carry out health screenings. Prime Minister Trudeau also advised against all non-essential travel until further notice, and for all arrivals to Canada to self-isolate for 14 days upon entry.

As of March 16, health officials have confirmed 424 cases of COVID-19 nationwide and four associated fatalities. Officials have recorded the highest number of cases in Ontario and British Columbia provinces at 177 and 103 respectively. Further spread of the virus is 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). Human-to-human and patient-to-medical staff transmission of the virus have been confirmed. Many of the associated fatalities have been due to pneumonia caused by the virus.

Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic.

Pneumonia symptoms include dry cough, chest pain, fever, and labored breathing. Pneumonia can be contagious and can be transmitted from human to human. The influenza virus, or the flu, is a common cause of viral pneumonia.


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 COVID-19 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 virus.