Ottawa, April 19 (IANS) Canada and the US have agreed to extend cross-border restrictions to all non-essential travel for another 30 days to prevent the further spread of COVID-19, said Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau.

“This is an important decision and one that will keep people on both sides of the border safe,” Trudeau said at his daily press conference here on Saturday.

On March 21, Canada and the US reached an agreement to close the border to all non-essential travel for 30 days to stem the spread of COVID-19, reports Xinhua news agency.

The March agreement is set to expire on April 20.

The border closing did not affect essential travel, including truck and rail traffic carrying food and goods, and medical staff travel to work.

Restricted flights between the two countries also continued.

The extension comes a day after Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair’s discussions with US officials.

“It’s another example of the excellent collaboration between our two countries,” Trudeau said.

At his daily press conference, Trudeau also announced that his government will allocate more than C$306 million ($218 million) to support Indigenous businesses against the COVID-19 crisis.

The financial support will allow Indigenous companies to access short-term, interest-free loans and non-repayable contributions, the prime minister added.

As of Saturday, Canada reported 32,413 COVID-19 cases and 1,346 deaths.

–IANS

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