COVID-19: US extends travel restrictions at Canada, Mexico land borders

COVID-19: US extends travel restrictions at Canada, Mexico land borders

FILE PHOTO: A truck is seen as it drives from the U.S. into Canada  on Cornwall Island
FILE PHOTO: A truck drives over the Seaway International Bridge from the U.S. into Canada after movement restrictions came into effect due to coronavirus disease (COVID-19) on Cornwall Island, Ontario, Canada March 25, 2020. Picture taken March 25, 2020. REUTERS/Christinne Muschi

WASHINGTON/OTTAWA: The United States, Mexico and Canada said on Tuesday (May 19) they would extend a ban on non-essential cross-border travel by another 30 days to help fight the coronavirus.

The US Department of Homeland Security said the land-border restrictions, first imposed in mid-March and previously set to expire on Wednesday, would now be extended until Jun 22 for both Canada and Mexico.

"This is an important decision that will keep people in both of our countries safe," Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said of the US-Canada measures.

Mexico's Foreign Ministry confirmed the 30-day extension.

The US also said on Tuesday it would extend pandemic-related rules that permit rapid deportations of migrants caught at US borders, according to a US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention health emergency order.

READ: COVID-19: World's busiest border falls quiet with millions of Mexicans barred from US

The rules, first issued in March and renewed in April, will be extended for an indefinite period but be reviewed by US health officials every 30 days, according to the order.

Relations between Canada and the US have steadily improved since a low point in June 2018, when President Donald Trump accused Trudeau of being weak.

The restrictions do not cover trade across a US-Canada border that stretches 8,891km.

Trudeau said that once non-essential travel restarted, Canada would need "to have strong measures in place".

Acting US Homeland Security chief Chad Wolf said Washington would examine how Canada and Mexico were handling the outbreak.

"What we don't want to do is try to open up parts of our economy and have a lot of folks coming across the border that we haven't seen in the past 50 or 60 days," he told a US Chamber of Commerce event.

Wolf said non-essential travel had fallen by 60 to 70 per cent. Air travel is not affected by the order.

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Source: Reuters/dv