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US, Canada close their border after virus spreads

President Donald Trump said the US and Canada agreed to close the border between the two countries to non-essential traffic as coronavirus spreads.

US President Donald Trump said the US and Canada have agreed to close the border between the two countries to non-essential traffic.

“We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic,” Trump said in a tweet on Wednesday. “Trade will not be affected.”

The indefinite ban — blocking tourism between the two countries — will have wide exemptions for business and commerce, according to officials familiar with the matter.

Trump said later Wednesday at a White House news conference that the border closing would likely last 30 days. “And hopefully at the end of 30 days we’ll be in great shape,” Trump said.

Canada’s prime minister, Justin Trudeau

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau earlier this week urged Canadians abroad to return home, and restricted flights from places other than the US, Mexico and the Caribbean.

The border closing comes as the number of coronavirus cases has been rising in both countries. In the US, more than 6,500 people tested positive for the virus, and in Canada there were 598 people with positive tests, according to a tally by Johns Hopkins University.

Trump has also placed travel restrictions on European countries in an effort to slow the spread of the virus. The president has said travel restrictions within the US are also possible.