Trudeau: US-Canada border to remain closed until coronavirus is under control

Wife of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau tests positive for coronavirus

Sophie Trudeau tests positive for COVID-19.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said the border with the United States will remain closed to non-essential travel until the U.S. gets coronavirus under control. 

"We have committed to keeping Canadians safe and we keep extending the border closures because the United States is not in a place where we would feel comfortable reopening those borders," he told the hosts of "The Start" in a radio interview Wednesday. "We see the cases in the United States and elsewhere around the world, and we need to continue to keep these border controls in place." 

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The current border closure agreement between the U.S. and Canada is set to expire Oct. 21, but it will likely be extended for the seventh time since it first went into effect in March. 

Coronavirus cases are climbing in the United States as winter approaches. There has been an average of 53,124 new cases a day over the last two weeks, a 23% increase from the average two weeks earlier, according to a New York Times analysis. And 59,751 cases were reported Wednesday. 

The U.S. has been hit harder by coronavirus than any other country, with 7,894,768 total cases and 216,025 deaths, according to the CDC. 

Canada, meanwhile, is dealing with a second wave that Trudeau called "really exhausting" on Wednesday.

The country reported 30,925 cases in the last two weeks, with 191,884 cases 9,709 deaths overall. 

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Trudeau also warned Canadian snowbirds against flying south to places like Florida, Arizona and California, for warmer weather, but where the virus is not under control, or controlled less than places in Canada. 

"Ultimately, if someone chooses to travel, we're not going to keep them imprisoned in Canada," Trudeau said. "There's freedom of movement in this country. Still, people have to recognize they're putting themselves at risk, putting their loved ones at risk."

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The Department of Homeland Security did not respond to a request for comment Thursday.

The four U.S. senators from Maine and New Hampshire sent a letter to President Trump earlier this month urging him to reopen the northern border, or at least take a more targeted approach to the restrictions. 

"The protracted closure of the world’s longest international land border to all but essential travel has put immense strain on the communities that straddle the border," the senators wrote. 

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President Trump told reporters last month that "we’re looking at the border with Canada" and "we’re going to be opening the borders pretty soon." 

As of now, it's unclear when that might happen. 

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