Ottawa, March 16 | Canada on Monday became the latest country to close its borders, barring entry to all except its citizens, permanent residents and a few exceptions.
Announcing the travel ban on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said it was “time to take every precaution to keep people safe”, reported BBC.
A few exceptions would be made for US citizens, air crew and diplomats, he said.
“Let me be clear, if you’re abroad, it’s time to come home,” Trudeau told Canadian citizens.
Trudeau’s wife, Sophie Gregoire Trudeau, tested positive for coronavirus after returning from a trip to London. The Prime Minister himself is in good health and has no symptoms, but will remain in isolation for 14 days, his office said.
Canada has 324 confirmed cases of the coronavirus across all its 10 provinces. There are an additional 17 presumptive cases. One death has been linked to the disease.
The government has urged all Canadians to avoid non-essential travel and to return home where possible.
It has also announced financial stimulus measures for businesses and are promising relief for Canadians who are affected financially.
Provincial governments are taking their own measures.
Over the weekend, Quebec – where there are about 39 cases – asked establishments like bars, cinemas, arenas, and gyms to close indefinitely.
Restaurants were asked to operate at half capacity.
From Monday, Canada’s border agency will have more powers to carry out coronavirus screenings at airports and all other entry points.