OTTAWA, Nov. 29 (Xinhua) -- Canada on Sunday announced an extension of restrictions on international traveling to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
In a news release issued Sunday, Canadian Minister of Public Safety and Emergency Preparedness Bill Blair announced that travel restrictions on U.S. citizens to enter Canada will be extended until Dec. 21, and restrictions on travelers arriving from other countries will be extended until Jan. 21.
The restrictions, which were brought forward on Mar. 16, ban most foreign nationals from entering Canada for non-essential travel. There are a number of exceptions for immediate family members of citizens, essential workers, seasonal workers, caregivers and international students, to name a few.
By extending the expiration dates, the change brings the timing of international travel restrictions in alignment with those governing the Canada-U.S. land border. Previously, international restrictions expired on the last day of each month while the Canada-U.S. border restrictions expired on the 21st.
Both have been regularly extended since March.
"The government continues to evaluate the travel restrictions and prohibitions as well as the requirement to quarantine or isolate on an ongoing basis to ensure Canadians remain healthy and safe," the minister said in a news release.
"The ability to align U.S. and international travel extension dates, as well as the mandatory isolation order, beginning on Jan. 21, 2021, will enable the government to communicate any travel extensions or changes as quickly as possible and provide certainty for Canadians, U.S. and international travelers," the minister added.
As of Sunday evening, Canada reported a total of 370,278 COVID-19 cases and 12,032 deaths, according to CTV.
Canadian Chief Public Health Officer Theresa Tam said on Sunday that Canada will continue to see the rapid growth of new cases of COVID-19 if Canadians don't reduce their close contacts.
Tam reiterated the stark warning she made on Saturday, saying the country could see up to 10,000 cases a day in mid-December "if we continue on the current pace" of infection.