Canada will closed its borders to all foreign nationals except U.S. citizens starting Wednesday (March 18).
“We will be denying entry into Canada to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents,” Trudeau told reporters on at a news conference outside Rideau Cottage, where he is under quarantine.
“All Canadians as much as possible should stay home.”
The death toll in Canada jumped to four on Monday, from one on Sunday. All three new deaths were reported by the Pacific province of British Columbia.
Health officials say they have found about 350 cases of COVID-19 across all 10 provinces.
Trudeau acted after the premiers of the two most populous provinces – Ontario and Quebec – urged him to clamp down on the borders.
“These measures will help save lives,” he said, adding that trade would not be affected.
Canada shares a long unguarded frontier with the United States, which takes 75% percent of Canadian goods exports.
Asked why U.S. citizens were exempt, Trudeau said the close bilateral integration meant the United States was in a different category from other nations but added that more measures could be announced soon.
Trudeau said Canadians should not travel outside the country and urged citizens who were abroad to return home. He also said Canada would reroute all international flight arrivals to four airports – Toronto, Calgary, Montreal and Vancouver.
Canada has also imposed tougher screening requirements.
The Canada Border Services Agency said all travelers arriving from any international destination would now be told to self-isolate for 14 days.
Some visitors who flew into Canada over the weekend told reporters they had not undergone any screening.
with files from Reuter.