U.S. land border crossing restrictions extended until January 21

U.S. land border crossing restrictions extended until January 21

The reason is the ongoing coronavirus pandemic

U.S. land borders with Canada and Mexico will remain closed to people traveling unnecessarily or for no good reason until at least Jan. 21. The reason is a sharp increase in COVID-19 infections, U.S. and Canadian officials said Friday.

That means President-elect Joe Biden’s administration will have to decide when to lift the restrictions, which were first imposed in March because the coronavirus pandemic had begun. Acting U.S. Homeland Security Secretary Chad Wolfe tweeted that the purpose of extending the restrictions is to “prevent the spread of COVID.”

Canadian Public Safety Minister Bill Blair confirmed that the ban has been extended until Jan. 21. “Our decisions will continue to be based on… recommendations from public health authorities to ensure the safety of Canadians,” Blair wrote on Twitter.

Biden will take office Jan. 20.

Canada is not interested in lifting the restrictions soon because of the ongoing pandemic in the United States. U.S. administration officials have previously tried to soften requirements, especially in the area of restrictions for residents living near the Canadian border.

According to Reuters, there have been more than 200,000 daily cases of COVID-19 infection in the United States over the past four days, with 3,253 people dying of the infection Wednesday, the highest number since the pandemic began.

In October, Statistics Canada reported that car travel to Canada from the U.S. fell 95.7 percent in August, while the number of people traveling from the U.S. to Canada fell 97.9 percent.

President Donald Trump is considering lifting restrictions on visits to the U.S. for residents of Britain, Ireland, Brazil and 26 Schengen countries in Europe.

The plan has been supported by members of the White House Coronavirus Task Force, health authorities and other federal agencies. But the restrictions could remain in place for now, given the increase in infections in Europe. One potential obstacle, officials said, is the fact that European countries are unlikely to allow most Americans to resume visiting the continent in exchange.