The US land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to people traveling without the special need or good reason until at least January 21. The reason is a sharp increase in the number of COVID-19 infections, 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 restrictions that were first introduced in March due to the outbreak of the coronavirus pandemic. Acting Secretary of homeland security Chad Wolf tweeted that the goal of extending the restrictions is to “prevent the spread of COVID.”
Canada’s public safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed that the ban had been extended until January 21. “Our decisions will continue to be based on… recommendations from public health authorities to ensure the safety of Canadians, ” Blair tweeted.
Biden will take office on January 20.
Canada is not interested in lifting restrictions soon because of the ongoing pandemic in the United States. Representatives of the US administration have previously tried to soften the requirements, especially in restrictions for residents living near the Canadian border.
According to Reuters, more than 200,000 cases of COVID-19 infection have been reported daily in the United States over the past four days, and 3,253 people died from the infection on Wednesday, the highest number since the beginning of the pandemic.
In October, Statistics Canada reported that in August, the number of automobile 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 restrictions on visiting the United States for residents of the United Kingdom, Ireland, Brazil, and 26 countries in Europe’s Schengen zone.
Members of the White House working group on coronavirus, health authorities, and other Federal agencies supported the plan. However, the restrictions may remain in force for the time being, given the increase in infections in Europe. One potential obstacle, officials say, is the fact that European countries are unlikely to allow most Americans to resume visiting the continent in exchange.