Society

Canada to bar entry for most foreigners

Canada will be closing its borders to anyone who is not a citizen or a permanent resident, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau has announced.

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The new measure to mitigate the spread of the coronavirus in Canada does not include US citizens.

Additionally, air operators will be "formally mandated' to prevent symptomatic travellers from boarding flights to Canada, Mr Trudeau said.

The prime minister said he has informed G7 partners of the new rules.

Only four Canadian airports - in Montreal, Toronto, Calgary, and Vancouver - will be accepting international flights beginning Wednesday.

"As the virus continues its spread, we've decided to take increasingly aggressive steps to keep you and your families safe," Mr Trudeau said.

Mr Trudeau said these "far reaching" measures will help save lives.

The flow of trade and commerce will not be affected by these latest steps, the prime minister said.

Canada had at least 324 confirmed cases of Covid-19 across all 10 provinces as of Monday morning. There are an additional 17 presumptive cases.

Four deaths have been linked to the disease.

"If you're abroad, it's time for you to come home," said Mr Trudeau, speaking on Monday outside his residence.

He is in self-isolation after his wife, Sophie, tested positive last week for the coronavirus.

There will be an assistance programme implemented for asymptomatic Canadians abroad to help them pay for their return if needed or help them with basic needs as they wait to come home.

On Friday, Canada asked citizens to avoid all non-essential travel and urged travellers to return home where possible.

All returning Canadians are being asked to self-isolate for two weeks.

Some provinces and cities have implemented their own measures to prevent contagion.

A number of provinces have temporarily closed public schools, as have the Northwest Territories and Nunavut.

Over the weekend, Quebec - where there are approximately 39 cases - asked establishments such as bars, cinemas, arenas, spas and gyms to close indefinitely. Restaurants were asked to operate at 50% capacity.

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