The US land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to people who travel without special need or good reason until at least January 21st. The reason is a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, officials from the US and Canadian authorities said on Friday.
This means that the administration of President-elect Joe Biden will have to decide on the timing of lifting the restrictions, which were first introduced in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Acting US Secretary of Homeland Security Chad Wolfe tweeted that the goal of extending the restrictions is to “prevent the spread of COVID.”
Public Safety Secretary Bill Blair has confirmed that the ban has been extended until January 21. “Our decisions will continue to be based on … public health advice to keep Canadians safe,” Blair tweeted.
Biden will take office on January 20.
Canada is not interested in lifting restrictions soon due to the ongoing pandemic in the United States. Officials from the US administration have previously tried to ease requirements, especially in the area of restrictions for residents of the country living near the Canadian border.
More than 200,000 COVID-19 cases have been reported daily in the United States over the past four days, according to Reuters, with 3,253 deaths on Wednesday, the highest number since the start of the pandemic.
In October, Statistics Canada reported that in August the number of car tourist trips to Canada from the United States decreased by 95.7%, while the number of people traveling from the United States to Canada fell by 97.9%.
President Donald Trump is considering lifting travel restrictions to the United States for residents of the UK, Ireland, Brazil and 26 European Schengen countries.
The plan was supported by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, health authorities and other federal agencies. However, the restrictions may remain in place for now, given the rise in infections in Europe. One potential obstacle, officials said, is the fact that European countries are unlikely to allow most Americans to resume their visit to the continent in exchange.