Canada-U.S. border closure to take effect as early as Friday: Trudeau

OTTAWA (Reuters) – Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said on Thursday that he expects the closure of the United States-Canada border to come into effect on Friday night, or early Saturday.

The United States and Canada announced on Wednesday they would close their shared border to “non-essential traffic” to curb transmission of the novel coronavirus.

Trudeau said Canada is finalizing details with American officials to implement the plan.

Canada has reported 733 coronavirus cases to date, and nine deaths. The government said this week it will provide C$27 billion ($18.6 billion) in direct support to families and businesses affected by the virus.

It was also examining whether to invoke the rarely used 1988 Emergencies Act, which would allow Ottawa to override provinces and restrict the movement of people and goods.

Trudeau said on Thursday he was considering getting the military’s help and urged Canadians to continue practicing social distancing.

“These are difficult and extraordinary times in which Canadians are taking difficult and extraordinary measures,” Trudeau told reporters outside his house, where he is in self-isolation after his wife tested positive for coronavirus.

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