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Trump says border with Canada will close to nonessential traffic amid coronavirus outbreak

COVID-19 has been reported in all 50 states in the US.

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- 01:25
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President Donald Trump answers a question during a daily briefing on the novel coronavirus on March 18.

Brendan Smialowski/Getty Images
For the most up-to-date news and information about the coronavirus pandemic, visit the WHO website.

President Donald Trump on Wednesday said the US will temporarily close its northern border with Canada to all "non-essential" traffic amid the coronavirus pandemic. 

"We will be, by mutual consent, temporarily closing our Northern Border with Canada to non-essential traffic," the president tweeted. "Trade will not be affected."

During a press briefing later Wednesday, Trump said the closure will likely last 30 days and is meant to prevent people from crossing the border for tourism and recreational purposes. The president also reiterated that the decision won't affect trade, and he said that essential traffic, such as that involving the military and medical matters, will continue.

Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau delivered a similar message during a press conference Wednesday, saying these measures will be in place "as long as we feel they need to last."

Trudeau added that supply chains will not be impacted in order to ensure that food, fuel and life-saving medicines can still reach people on both sides of the border.

COVID-19, the disease caused by a newly identified coronavirus first detected in China in December, has rapidly spread across the globe. The World Health Organization on March 11 declared the outbreak a pandemic, saying it expects to see the number of cases and deaths climb higher. As of Tuesday, there were more than 6,500 cases of coronavirus in the US, with cases reported in all 50 states. 

On Monday, Trump encouraged Americans to avoid gatherings of more than 10 people and to practice social distancing.

The White House didn't respond to a request for comment.

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