Trudeau unveils stepped-up measures to ‘keep Canadians safe’

Prime minister announces travel ban, citing quickly developing situation requires ‘aggressive steps’

Trudeau unveils stepped-up measures to ‘keep Canadians safe’

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced measures to restrict international travel into the country in an effort to keep Canadians safe amid the coronavirus pandemic.

“We continue to base our response on keeping Canadians as protected and as supported as possible,“ Trudeau said in a live press conference early this afternoon. “As the virus continues its spread, we’ve decided to take increasingly aggressive steps to keep you and your family safe.”

Trudeau said that people who are not Canadians or permanent residents will be denied entry to Canada, adding that designated exceptions will be carved out for air crews, diplomats and people with family in the country, and U.S. citizens.

American citizens have also been exempted from the ban. When asked why, Trudeau cited the “level of integration” between Canada and the United States, noting that the two countries are coordinating closely.

Trudeau also declared that starting on Wednesday, international flights will only be allowed to land at four airports: Vancouver, Calgary, Toronto, and Montreal. The restriction won’t be extended to trade and business flights, as well as those from the U.S., Mexico, the Carribean, and Saint Pierre and Miquelon, he said.

Airlines will also be required to deny passage to people with symptoms. Travellers who have just arrived in Canada must self-isolate for 14 days, the prime minister said.

Trudeau also encouraged Canadians currently travelling outside the country to return “while it is still possible to do so.”

“Let me be clear: if you’re abroad, it’s time to come home,” Trudeau said.

- with files from the Canadian Press