By Barry Ellsworth
TRENTON, Canada (AA) – As COVID-19 cases surpassed 200,000 Monday, Canada Safety Minister Bill Blair announced the Canada-US border closure to all but essential goods has been extended to Nov. 21.
The border was to open Oct. 21, but the minister said the spread of COVID-19 in both countries was enough to keep the border closed.
“Our decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair said, Monday. Johns Hopkins University reported Monday that COVID-19 cases in Canada stood at 202,275, with 9,825 deaths.
The border has been closed to non-essential travel for 30 day periods, but the closure has been renewed each month since March.
Trade was exempted from the closure, as are visits by some family members who are divided by the border and can convince they should be allowed to reunite on compassionate grounds.
But Prime Minister Justin Trudeau and US President Donald Trump seem to be of different opinions on the closure.
Trudeau said last week that Canada will keep the border closed as long as a surge in cases in the US continues.
“We keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders,” he said.
But Trump said in September that the closure may end in the near future.
“We’re looking at the border with Canada – Canada would like it open,” the president said. “So we’re gonna be opening the borders very soon…We want to get back to normal business.”
There have been about 8.2 million virus cases in the US as of Monday, Johns Hopkins University reported – the university keeps a running total of all cases and deaths in countries worldwide – and 27 states are reporting spikes of between 10% and 50%.