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US, Canada Just Made a Big Joint Move on Coronavirus

Border between 2 countries temporarily shut down to 'nonessential travel'
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted Mar 18, 2020 9:15 AM CDT

(Newser) – The US and Canada have agreed to temporarily close their shared border to nonessential travel, President Trump announced Wednesday as the two nations work to stem the spread of the coronavirus pandemic. Both countries are eager to choke off the spread of the virus but also maintain their vital economic relationship. Canada relies on the US for 75% of its exports, per the AP. Trump made the announcement on Twitter, saying the decision would not affect the flow of trade between the countries. "We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic," Trump tweeted. Truck drivers and Canadian snowbirds, who live in the US for part of the year and are returning to Canada, are among those expected to get an exemption.

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Completely closing the border would cause severe economic damage to both the US and Canada, as the two economies are integrated. Much of Canada's food supply comes from or via the US, and and 98% of its oil exports go to the US. About 18% of American exports go to Canada. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday he would close the country's borders to anyone not a citizen, an American, or a permanent resident, and even then they must self-isolate for 14 days on arrival. Trudeau said the exemption for Americans, despite the rapid rise of cases in the US, was due to "the level of integration of our two economies." The US has seen about 6,500 coronavirus cases and more than 110 deaths, while Canada has seen about 600 cases and eight deaths.

(Read more US-Canadian border stories.)

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