By David Shepardson and David Ljunggren
WASHINGTON/OTTAWA – The United States and Canada are set to approve another extension to a ban on non-essential travel as several major states struggle to contain a coronavirus outbreak, sources in both nations said.
The month-long ban – which does not cover trade – was first imposed in March and has been rolled over several times as cases in the United States spike. The current range of restrictions runs out on Aug 21.
A U.S. official briefed on the matter said the measures are set to be extended another 30 days and could last several more months depending on the progression of the coronavirus, which has killed more than 165,000 Americans.
In Ottawa, a Canadian source familiar with government thinking confirmed the two nations planned to announce the border restrictions would remain until Sept 21. The source requested anonymity because they were not authorized to speak to the media.
The premiers of several major Canadian provinces say they want to keep out U.S. tourists until there is clear evidence the coronavirus outbreak south of the border is under control.
A July 17 poll by Ipsos-Reid said 85% of Canadians think the land border should stay closed until at least the end of 2020.
Last month Canada tightened its rules for foreign travelers who must transit to get to Alaska after several U.S. citizens were fined for making detours to sightsee.
The United States and Mexico have agreed to similar clamp down on the border. Mexico has told the U.S. government that it supports extending restrictions for an additional month, Mexican Foreign Minister Marcelo Ebrard said on Thursday.
Mexico has recorded over half a million official coronavirus cases and 55,000 deaths while Canada has had more success. The total number of Canadian cases is 121,234, with 9,015 deaths.
(Additional reporting by Ted Hesson in Washington and Anthony Esposito in Mexico City; Editing by Nick Zieminski)