On Friday, August 14, the federal government announced that the closure of the Canada-US land border would be extended through September 21. The extension has been mutually agreed with the US government due to continued high coronavirus disease (COVID-19) case numbers in many US states. The border has been closed for four months and the previous extension had been agreed until Friday, August 21, but it will now remain closed for a further month. All non-essential cross border travel is prohibited, with exceptions for freight drivers, health workers, and other essential travel.
Foreign nationals are prohibited from entering Canada unless traveling for essential purposes until at least August 31. Canadian nationals and residents are permitted to return to Canada and travelers from the US are permitted to enter provided they are doing so for a purpose other than tourism. Those who do enter must do so by Calgary (YYC), Montreal (YUL), Toronto (YYZ), or Vancouver (YVR) airports and are subject to a mandatory 14-day quarantine.
The extent of COVID-19 restrictions in place across Canada varies as to the measures imposed by each regional and local authority. Most large public gatherings remain banned, and schools, bars, restaurants, cinemas, and other public facilities remain closed or restricted to varying degrees in the various provinces. Those services which have resumed are largely required to follow certain health protocols to ensure social distancing is observed.
As of Saturday, August 15, health authorities have confirmed 123,630 COVID-19 cases and 9068 associated deaths in Canada. 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). Since then, human-to-human transmission of the virus has been confirmed.
Cases of the virus have been confirmed in numerous countries and territories worldwide. On March 11, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the global outbreak a pandemic. Virus-screening and quarantining measures are being implemented at airports worldwide, as well as extensive travel restrictions.
The most common symptoms of COVID-19 are fever, dry cough, and tiredness. Some patients may experience other symptoms such as body pains, nasal congestion, headache, conjunctivitis, sore throat, diarrhea, loss of taste or smell or a rash on skin or discoloration of fingers or toes. These symptoms (in most cases mild) appear gradually. Generally, most patients (around 80 percent) recover from the disease without being hospitalized.
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 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 disease.
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