Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau announced on Monday that Canada’s borders would be closing to non-citizens in order to “take every precaution to keep people safe.”
Donald Trump pulled the trigger on a similar measure Wednesday morning, tweeting, “we will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic. Trade will not be affected. Details to follow!”
Coronavirus fears trump political correctness
When Trump clamped down on travel to and from China in January, he faced accusations of xenophobia. As the coronavirus spread at an alarming rate, the move proved to be a prudent one.
The decision to close the U.S.-Canada border follows stringent travel restrictions on European travel as the continent was declared the new virus “epicenter” by the World Health Organization over the weekend.
Trump has also initiated travel bans to other countries highly impacted by the virus, including Iran, the UK, and Ireland.
For Trudeau, the impact of coronavirus is extremely personal. His wife, Sophie Grégoire Trudeau, tested positive for the virus last week after traveling to the UK. She began experiencing “uncomfortable” symptoms of the virus days after attending Wembley Arena for WE Day, a youth empowerment event.
The prime minister placed himself in isolation for 14 days after the results were confirmed, but has declined to undergo testing for the virus himself.
Domestic travel concerns
In addition to international travel bans, Trump confirmed that domestic travel restrictions are on the table, but declined to commit to any during his coronavirus press briefing on Monday.
Trump said the White House is “not really” planning on placing restrictions. “We hope we don’t have to. We think that hopefully, we won’t have to do that. But it’s certainly something we talk about every day. We haven’t made that decision,” he stated.
Instead, in accordance with CDC guidelines, Trump recommended that Americans avoid “discretionary travel” for the next two weeks.
Chad Wolf, acting secretary of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security, was blunter about the reality of the situation, admitting on Sunday, “We continue to look at all options, and all options remain on the table” in regard to domestic travel.
The Department of Defense announced restrictions on domestic travel for service members, Defense Department employees, and family members over the weekend. According to a DoD memo, “service members will only be authorized local leave only.”