Addressing the nation on Monday, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced the federal government's latest plans to combat COVID-19 in Canada. New measures include closing Canada’s borders to international travellers and limiting incoming flights. During his statement, the PM reminded Canadians, “We will keep your family safe.”
In a statement to the media at 1:40 p.m., Justin Trudeau explained the federal government’s new plans for controlling the spread of the virus in Canada.
“As the virus continues its spread, we've decided to take increasingly aggressive steps to keep you and your family safe,” he said.
“We will be closing our borders to people who are not citizens or permanent residents of Canada,” he added. It was later confirmed that U.S. citizens will be exempt from this ban.
Additionally, the PM revealed that all airlines will receive a formal order to ban individuals who are showing symptoms of COVID-19. Those believed to be sick will not be allowed to travel.
The only airports that will currently receive international flights will be Toronto Pearson, Montréal-Pierre Elliott Trudeau, Vancouver International Airport and Calgary International Airport.
Trudeau added that domestic flights, flights to and from the U.S., and travel to Mexico will not be affected at this time.
He also confirmed that any Canadians who are unable to return home will be able to access funding from the government.
These changes will come into effect as of 12:00 a.m. on Wednesday.
The Prime Minister spoke from his home, as he remains in self-isolation after his wife was confirmed to have COVID-19.
These latest updates follow a meeting that was held between Trudeau and cabinet ministers on Sunday, where they are believed to have discussed next steps in terms of Canada’s COVID-19 prevention measures.
Speaking on Sunday, Tourism Minister Melanie Joly explained, “I think the most important thing that Canadians want to know right now is how we can keep them safe, and that has been our main priority as a government.”
1/8 March 15: there are 313 #COVID19 cases in 🇨🇦, with 10 provinces now reporting a case. With the recent rapid⬆️in… https://t.co/JguTJ1fffS— Dr. Theresa Tam (@Dr. Theresa Tam)1584313787.0
Trudeau’s address comes as new cases of the virus continue to be diagnosed across Canada. On Monday, there were 324 confirmed cases in the country, with an additional 17 probable cases.
Over the weekend, the number of Canadian cases almost doubled, prompting health officials to take a stronger position than they had previously.
Dr. Theresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer, explained, “Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow. We all need to act now. COVID-19 is a serious public health threat.”
On the same day, Ottawa’s Minister of Health urged residents to avoid all non-essential trips outside of the house.
Busy day of meetings and interviews today. COVID-19 is an evolving situation in Canada and around the world, and no… https://t.co/JBphyfG9L7— Justin Trudeau (@Justin Trudeau)1584298763.0
Last week, the federal government unveiled a $1 billion plan to combat the virus in Canada.
On Sunday, Trudeau promised that he was "not taking anything off the table" when it comes to COVID-19.