North American borders to be closed through August 21

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Restrictions on non-essential travel at land borders between the United States, Canada and Mexico will be extended through August 21, Canada and the US announced on Thursday.

“Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the current border measures by one month until August 21, and we’re going to keep working closely with our American neighbours to keep people safe on both sides of the border,” Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said at a news conference.

Earlier, acting US Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolf announced the 30-day extension on Twitter that “close collaboration with our neighbors has allowed us to respond to #COVID19 in a North American approach and slow the travel-related spread of the virus.”

The rules, first issued in March, have been repeatedly extended in 30-day blocks.

The restrictions do not cover trade across a US-Canada border that stretches 5,525 miles (8,891km) or air travel.

Passenger crossings have fallen by 90 percent or more at many border crossings and hit tourist destinations along US borders.

Drivers wait to cross through Canadian customs at the Canada-US border, which will remain closed to non-essential traffic through August 21 [File: Jesse Winter/Reuters]

In May, passenger traffic in Detroit fell to 45,000 people crossing, down from 502,000 passengers crossing in February.

At San Ysidro, California, on the US-Mexico border, passenger and pedestrian traffic fell from more than 2.9 million people crossing in February to 1.3 million in May.

The restrictions do not apply to travellers who are getting to work, or people travelling for family care, educational or humanitarian reasons.

SOURCE: Reuters news agency

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, Al Jazeera English reports

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