President Donald Trump has announced that the United States will temporarily close its border with Canada to "non-essential traffic" amid the coronavirus pandemic. Trump, who has announced a number of precautionary measures in recent days to help slow the spread of the novel coronavirus, made the announcement Wednesday morning. At this time, it is unclear when the temporary closure will go into place. Canadian Prime Minister, Justin Trudeau has not yet responded to the announcement.
We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) March 18, 2020
Trudeau on Monday had announced that Canada would be closing its borders to foreigners with the exception of U.S. citizens and permanent residents. According to the Associated Press, Trudeau said: "Let me be clear: If you are abroad, now is the time to come home. If you've just arrived, you must self-isolate for 14 days."
He added that the exemptions for Americans was due to "the level of integration of our two economies," as the United States accounts for 75 percent of the country's exports.
"Canada and the United States have the longest un-militarized border in the world and that border is vital to the daily life to people on both sides that live of that border," Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland added at the time.
Later that night, reports surfaced that Canada and the United States were working together on a deal to close their joint border to non-essential traffic, though details of that detail, including what types of vehicles and individuals would still be allowed to travel between the two countries and for what purpose, were still being fleshed out.
"The Canadians have been our friends throughout this and many other crises, and they continue to be honest brokers," a Trump administration official told CNN.
According to the Associated Press, it is believed that truck drivers and Canadian snowbirds, or those people who live in the U.S. for a portion of the year and are returning to Canada, will be among those exempt from the border closure. Further details should be coming shortly.
As of Wednesday morning, a New York Times database reported at least 5,881 confirmed cases of coronavirus in the United States, now affecting all 50 states. There have been more than 100 deaths.