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Canada-U.S. border closure extended to Jan. 21 as coronavirus cases soar, CBSA says

Click to play video 'Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border' Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border
WATCH: Task force will examine re-opening U.S.-Canada border – Nov 29, 2020

The Canada-U. S. border will remain closed until Jan. 21 of next year in an effort to curb rising cases of the novel coronavirus, the Canada Border Services Agency reiterated Friday.

“The #CBSA would like to remind travellers that discretionary (non-essential) travel restrictions between [the U.S.] and [Canada] have been extended to January 21, 2021,” they said in a tweet.

On their website, the CBSA says this includes travel for vacations, day trips and other “entertainment” purposes.

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Prime Minister Justin Trudeau made the announcement during a press conference earlier that day.

Shortly after, Public Safety Minister Bill Blair said in a tweet the country’s “decisions will continue to be based on the best public health advice available to keep Canadians safe.”

The joint restrictions have been in place since March and were mutually agreed upon by both countries. They have been extended monthly since they were imposed.

The news comes days after Health Canada approved Pfizer and BioNtech’s COVID-19 vaccine, the first batch of which is expected to be doled out this coming week.

The government health agency said Wednesday the availability of the vaccine would “reduce the spread and severity of COVID-19 disease and reduce its social and economic consequences,” adding that the vaccine is roughly 95 per cent effective and showed no serious safety concerns.

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Read more: Canada-U.S. border closure to extend into December as coronavirus cases rise: source

The U.S. approved Pfizer’s vaccine on Friday, with the country’s Food and Drug Administration saying shipments were expected to be delivered next week.

Both countries have been struggling to contain rising numbers of confirmed COVID-19 cases.

On Friday, Canada saw 6,766 new cases — the third-highest daily total ever reported by the country — bringing Canadian confirmed infections to 448,471. To date, 13,251 people in Canada who tested positive for the virus have died.

As of Saturday, the U.S. had seen nearly 15.9 million confirmed cases of the virus and 295,791 COVID-19-related deaths, according to data compiled by Johns Hopkins University.

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