There may be hope for those stranded from loved ones across the Canada-U.S. border. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau says he is introducing a limited exemption to allow families to reunite.
“This is an incredibly difficult time to be apart from a spouse, a child, or mom or dad. We hear that,” said Trudeau at his Monday morning COVID-19 briefing. ”That’s why we’re bringing in a limited exemption to allow immediate family members of citizens or permanent residents to come to Canada.”
The exemption, which comes into effect on Tuesday, will allow a spouse, parent or step-parent, child, guardian, or tutor to enter Canada from the U.S..
Those coming to Canada from the United States will still need to quarantine for 14 days, and confirm they have a suitable place to quarantine. Trudeau warned of “serious penalties” for those who don’t follow the rules. Minister of Immigration Marco Mendicino said the relaxation isn’t for trips to see family members but for reuniting families split up by the border closure.
The border between the two countries closed for non-essential travel on March 21 and remains closed until at least June 21. Trudeau urged residents to continue to do their part in limiting the spread of the virus by staying at home and limiting their interactions with other people.
“All this is difficult and frustrating, and longer than we hoped it would be in many ways, but at the same time we know that the cost of having to return into social isolation, return into lockdown because of a massive resurgence is not one that anyone wants to bear, which is why we are being very cautious going forward,” Trudeau said.
In recent days a few provinces have started rolling back regulations or announcing their intentions as the economic repercussions of the lockdown have worsened.
As of Monday morning, Canada had over 96,000 confirmed or presumed cases of COVID-19 in the country, and nearly 8,000 deaths. The vast majority of the deaths have come from Quebec and Ontario. The United States continues to be the country hardest hit by the novel coronavirus. More than 2,000,000 American’s have been infected with COVID-19 and over 112,000 of those have died.
There have been almost 400,000 deaths worldwide because of the pandemic.
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