Despite pressure from the travel industry, airlines and certain regions of the country, the federal government “will be very, very careful” about reopening Canada’s borders to international travellers and tourism, Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said Monday.
“Every step of the way, as we look at those next steps we need to make sure we are keeping Canadians safe, first and foremost,” Trudeau said.
“I understand how difficult this is and how frustrating this is for some people, but we know that reopening too quickly or carelessly would lead us to a resurgence that might well force us to go back into lockdown, to shut down the economy once again and nobody wants that.”
The federal government has introduced various measures to support large and small businesses and for Canadians to be able to make it through the coming months, he said.
“But we are going to be very, very careful about when and how we start reopening international borders,” Trudeau said.
Last week, Canada and the United States agreed to extend the shutdown of their land border until July 21.
Canada and the U.S. agreed in March to temporarily close the 8,891-kilometre land border to non-essential travel while keeping it open to commercial traffic and essential workers.
Trudeau’s comments came as World Health Organization Director General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus warned that “the pandemic is still accelerating” and that “the lack of global solidarity and global leadership” represents a greater threat to the world than the virus itself.
“It seems that almost every day we reach a new and grim record,” Tedros told a health forum organized by the United Arab Emirates, after Sunday’s record of 183,020 new COVID-19 cases being reported in a single day..
“Some countries are continuing to see a rapid increase in cases, and some countries that have successfully stopped community transmission are seeing an upswing in cases as they reopen their societies and economies.”
There have now been more than 8.8 million cases of COVID-19 confirmed around the world, as well as more than 465,000 deaths, Tedros said.
The count of total cases of COVID-19 in Canada was 101,337 and 8,430 death as of June 21, 2020.
With files from The Associated Press