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COVID-19 pandemic: Canada and US working on extending border closure

President Trump has said that the US-Canada border will be among the first borders to open and that the US and Canada are doing well in handling the pandemic.

SNS | New Delhi |

Canada and the US are working on an agreement to extend the closing their border to nonessential travel during the coronavirus pandemic, according to the Canadian government official on Wednesday.

The official, who was not authorized to be quoted by name to discuss the talks, said it is too early to lift the restrictions, which are set to expire next week.

Last month, the Trump administration and Prime Minister Justin Trudeau’s government announced a 30-day extension of the restrictions.

President Trump has said that the US-Canada border will be among the first borders to open and that the US and Canada are doing well in handling the pandemic.

Earlier, Trump said that he wanted the frontier with Canada to be among the first to reopen. But officials in Canada have said it would still be a matter of weeks

Both the countries agreed in March to limit border crossings to essential travel amid the pandemic. Nearly 200,000 people cross that border daily in normal times.

Essential cross-border workers like healthcare professionals, airline crews and truck drivers are still permitted to cross.

In the US, as in many countries, the lockdowns have resulted in catastrophic levels of job losses.

The US unemployment rate soared to 14.7 per cent in April, the highest rate since the Great Depression. There are roughly 30 million Americans out of work.

The US has the largest coronavirus outbreak in the world by far: 1.37 million infections and over 82,000 deaths, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Americans who are returning to America and Canadians who are returning to Canada are among those who are also exempted from the border closure.