WASHINGTON — President Donald Trump said the United States and Canadaian officials have agreed to close border to “non-essential traffic,” saying trade won’t be affected.
The move joins many other nations around the globe who have taken similar measures in hopes of stopping the spread of COVID-19 that has killed more than 8,000 people and infected more than 201,000 as of Wednesday morning.
Governments grappled Wednesday with how to implement border closures, travel restrictions and lockdowns that have caused transportation chaos and imperiled economies, but which authorities say are needed to slow the coronavirus pandemic.
European Union leaders agreed to shut down the bloc’s external borders for 30 days.
In Southeast Asia, the causeway between Malaysia and the financial hub of Singapore was eerily quiet after Malaysia shut its borders, while the Philippines backed down on an order giving foreigners 72 hours to leave from a large part of its main island.
The administration of President Donald Trump was considering a plan to immediately return to Mexico all people who cross America’s southern border illegally, according to two administration officials who spoke to The Associated Press on the condition of anonymity because the plan hasn’t been finalized.
The coronavirus is present in every U.S. state after West Virginia was the last to report an infection. Hawaii’s governor encouraged travelers to postpone their island vacations for at least the next 30 days, while the governor of Nevada ordered a monthlong closure of the state’s casinos.
Increasingly worried about the economic fallout of the global shutdown, the U.S., Britain and the Netherlands announced rescue packages totaling hundreds of billions of dollars, while longtime International Monetary Fund critic Venezuela asked the institution for a $5 billion loan.
Major Asian stock markets fell back after early gains on Wednesday after Wall Street jumped on Trump’s promise of aid.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.