The U.S./Canada border closure to non-essential travel has been extended for the 10th time with a continued closure until at least February 21, 2021.
Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced extension of the border closure January 12.
“Our focus since the start of this pandemic has been protecting you and your family,” Trudeau said during a press conference. “Whether by procuring vaccines or by bringing in strict travel and border measures, our priority is your safety.”
Canada’s minister of public safety Bill Blair confirmed the extension of the border closure, which is nearing a year in March, in a January 12 tweet.
The U.S. Department of Homeland Security (DHS) also announced the extension, which also affects the U.S./Mexico border, in a January 12 tweet.
DHS added in a thread to the original tweet that the DHS was working with Canadian and Mexican officials to “identify appropriate public health conditions to safely ease restrictions in the future and support U.S. border communities.”
DHS continued, saying the incoming administration would need to discuss the degree of health risk in the CDC Travel Health Notice, public health conditions and applicable travel restrictions, and local U.S. Customs and Border Patrol officer staffing numbers if exposed to Covid-19.
The border was first closed to non-essential travel on March 21, 2020.
The U.S. had 22,322,956 confirmed cases of Covid-19, according to January 12 CDC data. The increase of Covid-19 cases in the U.S. over the past seven days, 1,722,460, is 258 percent of Canada’s total 668,181 confirmed cases during the pandemic, according to CDC and January 11 Canadian government data.
The U.S. has a rate of 6,724 confirmed cases per 100,000 people since the start of the pandemic, which is more than 2.5 times higher than Canada’s rate of 1,778 cases per 100,000, according to the latest data from CDC and Canadian government.
The border closure does not extend to air travel. People traveling to Canada must quarantine for 14 days after arrival and, as of January 7, people entering Canada by plane who are 5 years old or older must provide a negative Covid-19 test that was taken no later than 72 hours before departure, according to the government of Canada. The CDC announced similar measures on January 12 that will take effect Tuesday, January 26, requiring air travelers entering the U.S. to submit proof of a negative Covid-19 test taken 72 hours before boarding a flight.