U.S. President Donald Trump has suggested that travel restrictions with Canada could soon be eased, but Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said that won’t likely happen for a “significant” amount of time.
“The reality is we are still many weeks away from being able to talk about softening these restrictions around the border,” Trudeau said during a news conference outside Rideau Cottage in Ottawa on Thursday (April 16).
On Wednesday, Trump said he’d support easing border restrictions between the two countries, noting that Canada is “doing well” in its efforts to control the spread of the virus.
“We have a lot of nations that are heavily infected — some are getting better, (but) some are still on the way up, unfortunately. We’re keeping very strong borders with those nations,” he said during his daily media briefing at the White House.
“But with Canada, we are talking about different things.”
The U.S. has more than 560,000 active cases among its 328 million citizens. Meanwhile, Canada has roughly 18,000 active confirmed cases among its 37.5 million citizens.
Non-essential travel between the countries was banned in mid-March. Canada has closed its borders to foreign nationals until further notice.
Trudeau said that there will be “special thought” given to the U.S. when coordinating the reopening of the border with White House officials, calling the relationship one that is “quite unlike any other.”
“We will continue to look at ways to move forward in this pandemic, we recognize it will be time still,” he said. “We recognize there is a need to protect our citizens as every country is doing.”
At this time, any Canadians returning home from outside the country face a mandatory 14-day quarantine period. Anyone without a suitable quarantine plan will be forced to stay in a nearby hotel.