Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said Monday he had authorised US$1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. PHOTO: AFP
Acting Pentagon chief Patrick Shanahan said Monday he had authorised US$1 billion to build part of the wall sought by President Donald Trump along the US-Mexico border. PHOTO: AFP

Canada and the United States have agreed to extend the cross-border closure to non-essential travels for another month until Oct. 21 to slow the spread of the COVID-19 pandemic, according to Public Safety Minister Bill Blair on Friday.

“We are extending non-essential travel restrictions with the United States until October 21st, 2020. We will continue to base our decisions on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe,” Blair tweeted.

This is the sixth extension of the agreement since the outbreak of the COVID-19 pandemic. The agreement, first imposed in March and has been renewed every month since then, is set to expire on Sept. 21.

The restrictions have resulted in a dramatic drop in traffic between the two countries, although essential workers — such as truck drivers and health-care professionals — are still able to cross by land. And Canadians are still able to fly to U.S. destinations.

However, Canada sees a dramatic resurgence in the virus, along with long lines for testing in some cities. In the last two weeks, the number of cases being reported across the country each day has risen by nearly 50 percent.

An average of 779 new cases have been reported daily during the most recent seven days, according to the Public Health Agency of Canada on Thursday.

As of Friday noon, Canada has reported 141,565 COVID-19 cases and 9,201 deaths, according to CTV.

Meanwhile, the United States has reported 6,694,434 cases and 198,055 deaths, according to Johns Hopkins University.

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