On Wednesday, the United States and Canada agreed to close its 5,500-mile border to nonessential travel in response to the rapid spread of the coronavirus (WP). The border closure will effectively halt tourism and family visits but will remain open for trade and trucking (AP).The two countries rely heavily on each other, with nearly 200,000 people crossing the border everyday along with two billion dollars in goods and services (BBC). In a press conference, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau stated, “It is critical that we preserve supply chains between both countries” (AP).
Canada has 650 confirmed cases of the virus while the U.S. has more than 7,000 (WP). With the growing number of deaths, the two countries are taking large measures to counteract the effects of the virus. Trudeau has announced a CAD 27 billion program to directly support Canadian families and businesses along with CAD 55 billion in aid through tax deferrals (WP). U.S. President Donald Trump also signed into law a $100 billion aid package with provisions for emergency paid leave as well as free coronavirus testing (CNN). The border closures are expected to take effect on Friday night, or early Saturday (Reuters).