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Canada to close borders to most non-citizens: Trudeau

He says the country is taking 'increasingly aggressive steps' to keep everyone safe
TRUDEAU_PIC
Prime Minister Justin Trudeau addressing Canadians from Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on March 13, 2020. CITYNEWS

With files from Rogers Media

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says Canada is closing its borders to most people who are not citizens or permanent residents to slow the spread of COVID-19.

The federal government is mandating air carriers to screen passengers with symptoms of the novel coronavirus out of lines so they don’t board planes home.

He says the country is taking “increasingly aggressive steps” to keep everyone safe.

As of 9 a.m. Monday, there were 324 confirmed cases of COVID-19 in Canada, and 17 probable cases. The Public Health Agency of Canada reported that 13 per cent of those cases required hospitalization. Almost three-quarters of the cases were people who travelled outside of Canada recently, but public health officials also stressed there is community transmission happening now more frequently.

The number of cases over the weekend almost doubled, prompting an escalation in the message to Canadians from Dr. Teresa Tam, Canada’s chief public health officer.

“Our window to flatten the curve of the epidemic is narrow,” Tam said Sunday. “We all need to act now. COVID-19 is a serious public health threat.”

If people don’t stay home in an effort to “social distance,” the virus will spread so quickly that too many people will need urgent medical care at once, she said.

As a result, many businesses and governments directed employees who can, to work from home Monday, and several non-food retailers and fitness clubs announced they will be closing temporarily and telling employees to stay home.

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