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Canada, U.S. extend border closure agreement until Aug. 21

Click to play video 'Coronavirus outbreak: Canada, U.S. extend border closure agreement until Aug. 21' Coronavirus outbreak: Canada, U.S. extend border closure agreement until Aug. 21
WATCH ABOVE: Canada, U.S. extend border closure agreement until Aug. 21 – Jul 16, 2020

WASHINGTON — The U.S., Canada and Mexico have agreed to keep their shared borders closed to non-essential traffic until at least late August because of COVID-19.

Acting U.S. Department of Homeland Security Chad Wolf said Thursday in announcing the extension that restrictions on cross-border traffic that have been in place since March have helped slow the spread of the coronavirus.

Read more: Canada, U.S. likely to extend border closure into late August, sources say

Officials had said in recent days that another 30-day extension was likely before the expiration of the previous 30-day extension.

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The partial closure restricts crossing to commercial traffic, people returning to their home country and other travel deemed essential. It prohibits people from travelling between the countries for tourism or shopping, which is economically important to border communities.

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The extension agreed to by the three countries would keep the border closed until Aug. 21.

It comes as COVID-19 continues to surge in many parts of the U.S. and in Mexico.

The border restrictions are intended to maintain the commercial cargo traffic that is vital to the economies of all three countries.