Canada and the U.S. are working on a mutual ban on non-essential travel between the two countries over the spread of the coronavirus, sources tell Global News.

According to the source, the announcement, which they say will have huge impact on both sides of the border, could potentially come as soon as Wednesday, but will be made public within the next 24 to 48 hours.

Trade and commerce between Canada and the U.S. will still continue, but tourists will be banned from crossing the border.

Sources have also confirmed that there will be certain restrictions and exemptions in the travel ban, but that further details are still unconfirmed as of now.

The introduction of such a ban would follow the federal government’s announcement on Monday to close its borders to most foreign travellers in order to limit the spread of COVID-19.

Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the country will close its borders to people who are not Canadian citizens or permanent residents.

“I know that these measures are far-reaching,” Trudeau said while speaking to reporters in Ottawa. “They are exceptional circumstances calling for exceptional measures.”

He said that the restrictions would come into effect Wednesday, but that certain exceptions would be made for diplomats, aircrews, immediate family members and U.S. citizens.

Trudeau’s announcement was also followed by a series of new measures aimed at curbing the spread of the virus.

Air operators would be banned from allowing anyone showing symptoms of the coronavirus from getting on a plane to Canada while all international travel would be redirected to four Canadian airports.

A new financial support system, now known as the COVID-19 Emergency Loan Program for Canadians Abroad, would also be created to assist residents abroad who were directly impacted by the coronavirus outbreak.

A statement from Foreign Affairs Minister François-Philippe Champagne on Monday night detailing the program said that Canadians can apply for a loan of up to $5,000 to either secure their return to Canada or to “cover their life-sustaining needs” during the process of returning home.

Deputy Prime Minister Chrystia Freeland, who was also at the press conference Monday, said that we needed “to act with real care, with real delicacy and with real precision,” over the handling of the Canada-U.S. border after she was unable to answer why U.S. citizens were not barred from entering the country.

“This is a situation we are reviewing constantly,” said Freeland.

To date, the novel coronavirus has infected nearly 200,000 and killed close to 8,000 people worldwide. As of Tuesday evening, Canada has confirmed at least 556 cases and 5 deaths.

The Canadian government is also expected to unveil a new economic stimulus package on Wednesday in response to the virus outbreak.

Global News has learned that the stimulus package will include expansions on employment insurance, and is expected to be worth between $20-$30 billion. The deadline for filing income tax returns for both individuals and businesses will also be extended by one month to June 1 and July 31, respectively.



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